Having been told by organisers they would be attending a Fijian inspired fitness session, unsuspecting UAE fitness lovers were astonished to find themselves lined up at the bottom of one of Dubai’s most imposing sand dunes.
Not only that, they were greeted by two of world rugby’s all-time greats, Brian O’Driscoll and George Gregan, as well as celebrated sevens super coach Ben Ryan.
Ryan is famed for his energy sapping fitness sessions on the torturous dunes of Fiji, who dared them to emulate the strength, resolve and mental strength of his Olympic gold medal winning side.
The locals were then split into two teams to take on three challenges aimed at challenging body and mind.
Sport360’s very own Niall McCague was on hand to take part and said: “It gave a great insight into what makes the Fijians the fittest athletes in the game.
“The desert sand is so soft, absorbing any power and spring in the lower body and leaving the legs screaming with lactic acid. The Fijians’ gold medal is a testament to training like that day in day out. They’re extraordinary athletes, both physically and mentally.”
For Ryan, clearly at home in the surroundings of imposing dunes, there were no surprises in the reactions of the participants.
“Playing rugby sevens at the highest level demands everything of the human body, both physically and mentally and today has proven that achieving greatness doesn’t just happen overnight,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of fun putting these fitness freaks through their paces, sapping their energy and spirit to show how rugby sevens has taken performance to whole new levels around the world.”