Super Rugby star happy to be home

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2013
Robbie Robinson
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
EXCITED TO BE BACK: Stags fullback Robbie Robinson training yesterday after a break following his Super Rugby medal with the Chiefs.

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Southland's two-time Super Rugby title-winner Robbie Robinson is ready to fire in a maroon jersey.

Having completed a two-week break after the Chiefs title defence, Robinson has been back training with the Stags this week.

"I'm excited about getting back. There's a lot of young guys in our backline and just to be able to help pass on a bit of knowledge is what I'm looking forward to," Robinson said.

"We have an end of year review and [the Chiefs coaches] ask me what I'm going to work on down here and they give me things they want me to work on. Last year I came back down and probably tried to do too much, probably tried to coach too much and this year they want me to focus more on getting better at my own role."

Robinson has designs on the No 15 jersey Marty McKenzie wore against Tasman last weekend, but is open to options.

"I'm pretty keen to play fullback, but if I'm need to play on the wing, I'll play there. It's a position I've found myself in a couple of times for the Chiefs so it's somewhere I need to get better at. I'll accomodate whatever the coaches need really."

Robinson has overcome a broken foot and tendon damage, as well as groin and hernia operations over the past 12 months, making it even more special when he came off the bench in the final against the Brumbies and scored a pivotal try.

"That was frustrating times. It was an injury which dragged on for so long and what I thought was minor, turned out to be major. Fortunately when I got my chance to come back Chicken [Gareth Anscombe] got injured. I got my chance and was pretty happy with the way I took it at first, but I fell away a wee bit and that's why I ended up sitting on the bench for the semi and the final."

Just the second Southland player after Corey Flynn to win a Super Rugby title, Robinson said a second gold medal was even more special than the first.

"I just embraced it a lot more this year, I made sure I got involved in everything, just really soaked up the moment. The feeling is unreal, but it won't sink in for a while but it's something that we'll always be able to look back on."

The Chiefs made an interesting play at the end of the season when they signed Crusaders fullback Tom Marshall, but Robinson said coach Dave Rennie had talked him through the franchise's reasoning for strengthening a pool which includes Anscombe and Andrew Horrell.

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"They just said that while they have plenty of fullback cover, Horrell wants to play 12 and Gareth wants to be a 10 so they said that they only had one genuine fullback. I look forward to the challenge and hopefully I can step up."

Stags coach David Henderson said Robinson loomed as the likely fullback to take on Northland on Saturday. That may mean McKenzie moving to the wing.

"With Robbie there's potentially two or three positions [he can play], but at this stage he's more likely to play fullback."

Meanwhile, Arrowtown finished fourth at the national Rippa Rugby finals in Wellington yesterday.

Otago representatives Arrowtown lost their bronze medal final 45-25 against Opotiki primary school from the Bay of Plenty.

Auckland's Holy Cross School beat Roscommon School, from Manurewa, 25-15 in the final.

Southland representatives Waihopai won three of their four games on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals where they were beaten by eventual winners Holy Cross 25-20, eventually finishing eighth overall.

- The Southland Times

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