17th March 2014

Mark Robertson Talks Grassroots to the International Stage

The Commonwealth Games move ever closer and Scotland 7s have only four more HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments before they take to the field at Ibrox in July.

One player who’s getting excited by the thought of a home Commonwealth Games and the chance to play in front of a full-house at Ibrox, is Mark Robertson, who grew up in the very town that rugby sevens was born, Melrose.

He said: “If I get selected, I can’t comprehend how loud the noise and amazing the atmosphere will be in Ibrox in July. It will be a new experience for this team because, though Wellington is always a sell-out, the stadium isn’t always full, so sometimes you’re playing in front of a quiet stand.

“However, the way tickets have been sold for the Commonwealth Games will ensure the stadium will be packed all day from the first game to the last.”

The centre, however knows that the Commonwealth Games has to remain at the back of his mind for now and that this weekend’s Tokyo 7s (22-23 March) is his main focus.

Robertson continued: “The nature of this game is that anything can happen at any point. The main thing for me just now is to perform as best as I can in Tokyo and take one step at a time, only then will I have a chance at selection for the games.

“In the past couple of months we’ve focussed on parts of our game that will hopefully make a difference to our performances and we’re desperate to go out and make our fans and the players in the squad back at home very proud.

“For me personally, I feel I’ve got some momentum just now, I feel sharp and on top of my game, so I hope I can keep moving forward. I want to be the best centre on the World Series.”

Having grown up in Melrose, where Ned Haig invented the abbreviated game in 1883, Robertson has felt the proud support of his family and the town throughout his rugby sevens career.

He concluded: “My first memory of the game of sevens was when my parents didn’t allow me to go along to the sevens because I was too young. I was gutted because there is such a buzz in the week leading up to the tournament and everyone is there.

“However, when I was six I got my first chance to play in the Crichton Cup, the equivalent youth tournament to the Melrose 7s. All I could think about that year was playing on the main pitch at The Greenyards.

“In 2006, I then got my first call to play on the World Series in Wellington, under Rob Moffat. Everything happened really quickly that season because I had played my first game for the Melrose 1XV and signed a pro-contract. I couldn’t believe I would get to play for my country too.

“The first thing I did was tell my parents and I knew that everyone in Melrose was behind me because they love to see their players getting selected for our country.”

So, come July if Mark Robertson gets the call to play in Commonwealth Games for Team Scotland, it’ll certainly be a proud moment in Melrose.

Robertson has won 26 caps on the HSBC Sevens World Series, scored 42 tries and three conversions, culminating in 216 points.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @marky_robertson

Photo Credit: Scottish Rugby

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