Robertson looks to go one better in Hong Kong

As Scotland 7s prepare for a big weekend of rugby in rounds seven and eight of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively, scottishrugby.org caught up with veteran Mark Robertson, who looks ahead to the events.

Robertson, who is edging ever closer to the 50 cap mark having appeared in 44 World Series competitions prior to this weekend, sees the Hong Kong event as ‘the big one’ and can’t hide his excitement at getting out onto the field over the course of the weekend.

“We’re always really excited about Hong Kong”, he said.  

“In my eyes, it’s still the big one, and, even although other events have grown over the past few years, it’s still a huge event on the Series calendar.

“It’s the tournament with the most prestige and there’s a real buzz about the city during the tournament which is hard to replicate. When you run out on to the pitch, the atmosphere in the ground is immense.”

The squad, of which Robertson is an integral part, go into the round seven event with an air of confidence following an impressive performance in the previous event, Vancouver, in which Scotland gained Cup qualification and a vital ten Series points.

The side currently sit 11th in the World Series standings on 42 points – trailing closest nation France on 43 and ninth place Samoa on 44 -, but the Melrose man believes that the finish in Vancouver can provide a platform for the remaining tournaments.

Robertson continued: “We needed the lift we got from the Cup qualification in terms of knowing that we can get progress into the top eight. We’ve been close to progressing quite a few times this Series, but never quite had the break we needed.

“Physically, the boys are in great shape and we’ve trained really well, but I think we hadn’t quite reached the level we had been training at and there was, and still is, scope for big improvements. But, seeing that we can hit that quarter-final while still not being at our best is a real positive and something we’ll use to build on.”

Scotland find themselves going into Hong Kong 7s as second seeds in their pool where they will face second in the table, South Africa; England, who Scotland have defeated on both the occasions the teams have met this Series; and Russia, who the men in dark blue have discarded in each of the four events the teams have faced-off this season.

>>World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series standings

“We’ve got a tough pool, but hopefully we can push on and compete to go further in the tournament. That’s why we’re here; we want to go that one step further and reach a final.

“Russia; we’ve beaten them every time we’ve faced them this year. England; we’ve turned them over on the last three occasions we’ve met on the circuit; and with South Africa, we just need to change our mind-set and have a real go at them from the first whistle.

“There is no doubt they [South Africa] are one of the best teams on the circuit right now and the most difficult for us to play against. We’ve seen, however, every team is beatable and the boys just need to remember that.”

Looking ahead to the future, Robertson, who has now played 190 World Series matches wearing the thistle, shows no sign of slowing up and is keen to keep striving for bigger things as part of the sevens set-up. 

Boasting an incredible 386 points, collated through 76 tries and 3 conversions, the former Edinburgh Rugby wing, who is comfortable slotting in as both a forward and a back in the abbreviated game, is still hungry for more.

He concluded: “From a personal perspective, I’m still really enjoying being a part of the sevens set-up. I enjoy the atmosphere, I enjoy the challenge, and I enjoy being around the group we’ve got as well.

“I also feel like I can give quite a lot to the boys coming through, and help build their confidence, which is a big thing for the sevens programme. 

“I’m 31 but I’m not ready to hang up the boots quite yet!” 

Scotland 7s squad to compete in Hong Kong 7s, round seven of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series

Hugh Blake

Jamie Farndale

Dougie Fife

James Fleming

Rory Hughes

James Johnstone

Gavin Lowe

Fraser Lyle

Nick McLennan

Joe Nayacavou

Mark Robertson

Scott Wight 

Scotland 7s’ Pool B fixtures in round seven of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, in Hong Kong                               Friday 8 April – Sunday 10 April

Friday 8 April

Scotland v Russia (kick-off 7.16pm local/12.16pm GMT)

Saturday 9 April

Scotland v England (kick-off 1.32pm local/6.32am GMT)

Scotland v South Africa (kick-off 5.54pm local/10.54am GMT)

Sunday 10 April

Scotland 7s knockout fixtures will be determined by their results in Pool B.