Dual international Jason Robinson is predicting more rugby league players will follow Jarryd Hayne into rugby sevens after the Rio Olympics.
The England 2003 Rugby World Cup winner believes sevens’ Olympic debut will lead to a boom, with more sponsor and television money flowing into the fast-paced format and its annual world series.
And he thinks it rugby league players are well placed to capitalise and will find sevens more appealing than traditional 15-a-side rugby union format.
“I really see, going forward, those crossovers going straight to sevens as opposed to 15s, because actually rugby league and sevens are so similar and less technical,” said 41-year-old Robinson.
Robinson was one of the world’s finest rugby league players before converting to union where he again excelled as a winger or fullback.
His comments came after former NRL superstar Hayne announced he was quitting his NFL career in the hope of representing Fiji in sevens at the Rio Olympics.
“One of the things some of the rugby league players don’t like is the scrums, is the lineouts, is the stop-start,” said Robinson. “They want it fast.
“They’ve got the skills, so I honestly believe that with all the investment coming into sevens – sponsorship’s going to grow, coverage is going to grow – there’ll be more and more players thinking hang on a minute. This is another route they didn’t even think about before.”
The 2015-16 season is the first in which the Sevens World Series has had 10 tournaments, an increase from nine in 2014-15, and the first time the women’s game has been sponsored amid the sport’s attempts to expand.