Robinson has no regrets as he quits game

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 22/11/2012

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With half of Reece Robinson's 34 years having been devoted to top-level rugby, he is now ready to move on to his next life.

The Manawatu lock has retired, will stay away from the game for a year and will not even play club rugby.

He would have been happy to play one final season with the Turbos but they were not ready to sign him early.

"It has shifted a big weight off my shoulders," he said. "I knew it had to come some time."

Thus ends the career of one of the longest-serving ITM Cup players and a rare survivor from the Central Vikings of 1997-98.

Robinson and his partner have bought a lifestyle block at Pohangina which involves much toil building stables and renovating a house.

"I will need time doing it up and next year I want to watch my family playing sports."

He is also keen to enter the fire service.

Daughter Taylor, 12, is into her sport and has just been picked in a Manawatu touch rep side.

In his younger days, Robinson did joinery but since he has been back in Palmerston North after 4 years playing professionally in Japan, it has been all rugby.

Even with club rugby the team assembled at noon or 1pm and then there were club and Manawatu trainings. In future he fancies coaching.

"I've got no regrets," he said. "I'm looking forward to the next step."

After growing up in Eketahuna, he began his first-class career for Hawke's Bay against Poverty Bay in 1998. His second game was a Vikings trial against Manawatu under lights.

Ironically, he finishes after one of his stronger seasons with the Turbos, forcing his way in as a starter for two games in mid-season.

"This year my body has been better than for the last three years; the short turn-arounds helped."

Manawatu will miss his aerial skills.

"They have always been my strength. I played a lot of basketball at Tararua College."

Despite three disappointing 50-pointers this year, Robinson felt the Turbos brought through young players who should be around for a few years.

As for locks, he likes the look of Hamish McKellar, Dan Law and Tom Hughes, even if they have to sit on the bench for a season.

He believes in the coaches, Jason O'Halloran, and forwards coach Wesley Clarke who broke Robinson's game down.

"It was hard for Jason to come in this season with both Aarons out; they're All Blacks."

Robinson's highlight was beating Hawke's Bay in the opening game last year.

"When I played for Hawke's Bay it was always a grudge match; we didn't want to lose to Manawatu.

"Manawatu players play with a lot of pride. It's not necessarily about the money; we have a lot of home-grown players.

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"Rens [Dave Rennie] looked around the province first and a lot of unions should do that."

- Manawatu Standard

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