Injury ends Bryce Robins' World Cup
Former Taranaki and Hurricanes centre Bryce Robins had hoped to be in New Zealand with the Japan team for the Rugby World Cup.
Instead, the 31-year-old is nursing a shoulder injury that has ruled him out of selection for John Kirwan's side.
The injury has sidelined Robins for four months and he has only just started training with his new team, Honda. The team, which is based between Nagoya and Osaka, south of Tokyo, includes Kiwis Hayden Triggs and Rodney So'oialo.
"I'm not on standby or anything like that. I'm still not quite 100 per cent, so I'm now focusing on returning to play in the first Japan Top League game on October 31."
Robins said missing the Rugby World Cup in his home country after playing for Japan at the 2007 tournament in France was a bitter pill to swallow.
"It's gutting. It will be hard watching the games on TV, but I tried my hardest to get right for it and some injuries just take a little more time than others. This is one of those injuries," he said.
"I'm on an intensive rehab programme with the Honda med staff, as well as full trainings with the team, so it's all looking good for the Top League."
Robins said he would miss the atmosphere of playing in a Rugby World Cup.
"The 2007 tournament in France was an amazing experience," he said. "I will also miss being able to play in front of family and friends.
"I would have loved to share my home country with my Japanese friends and show them around, but I'm sure the other Kiwi boys will do that."
Robins' place in the Japanese squad has been taken by Honda team-mate Taihei Ueda.
"He's a good friend of mine and I'm very happy for him."
Robins believed Japan could surprise a few tournament teams.
"I think they have the opportunity to have the best World Cup they have ever had," he said.
"I definitely think they can win a couple of games. They've had a successful year and won the Pacific Nations Cup and beat the United States in Tokyo before heading to New Zealand."
Robins said their strength was definitely their speed and unpredictability.
And Robins' tip for the final – the All Blacks and England.
Taranaki Daily News