Robbie Robinson almost completes the circle

One of the more-talented backline prospects to come out of Southland will tonight make his return to the rugby field after a nine month layoff. LOGAN SAVORY caught up with Robbie Robinson to find out how he is and how he feels about playing against his old province.

Seven weeks ago Robbie Robinson had one eye on life after rugby.

The talented fullback had a hip injury that had the potential to put a complete halt to his career at the age of just 24.

The former New Zealand secondary schools captain, New Zealand under-20 player and Maori All Black's rugby career was in jeopardy.

At the time, Robinson openly admitted he was struggling to come to terms with the prospect of a career-ending injury.

Initially, medical experts didn't think surgery could fix his hip problem but later decided there was the possibility of a successful outcome.

At the start of July, after 12 weeks of recovery, Robinson met with his surgeon and was delivered the news he so desperately was after - Robinson could return to rugby training.

Tonight, "The Kid" will lace up the boots and play his first game after the nine month layoff.

Of course, there is an added twist - he will be playing against his old team.

Robinson was one of the more-exciting young products to come out of Southland, playing 61 games from 2008 through to last year.

Tonight he pulls on the North Harbour jersey for the first time in the round two NPC game in Albany.

"It has worked out nicely that I'm back and ready to play - and it's against my old team," he said. "It's definitely funny how things work out.

"I don't really know how I feel about it to be honest. It's a union I never thought I would leave and the way things have worked out, is the way it is. It has been the best decision for me because now I'm back and OK to play and I never thought I would be back as soon as I am."

Robinson isn't lumping too much expectation on himself tonight.

"It'sbeen only two weeks that I've got back to full-on running and team training but I feel good and I feel I'm ready to go."

"In the past, being quite young, I've been really eager when I've come back and I have often tried to do quite a bit. So I think tonight is just about nailing my core role and doing my best for the team without over-doing things."

For Robinson, the 2014 NPC is an audition for him to make a return to Super Rugby next season. He has been contracted to the Chiefs since 2012 but the franchise is waiting to see how he bounces back from injury during the 2014 season.

"I'm off contract at the end of this year, so it's definitely in the back of my mind. I just want to go out there and play really well and things will happen for me."

The Southland Times