World Cup winner inspires youngsters

RUGBY legend Jason Robinson has become far more than just a grassroots coach since his retirement - if anything he has become a life coach.Since walking away from the game as a losing finalist at last year's World Cup, the 33-year-old has spent more and more time in his various ambassadorial roles.

Stuart Watson

RUGBY legend Jason Robinson has become far more than just a grassroots coach since his retirement - if anything he has become a life coach.

Since walking away from the game as a losing finalist at last year's World Cup, the 33-year-old has spent more and more time in his various ambassadorial roles.

And, through his work for Tesco's Sport for Schools and Clubs scheme, Robinson was passing on words of wisdom to youngsters from Northgate High School and Ipswich Rugby Club at the latter's base at Humber Doucy Lane.


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“Unless you are going to be disciplined and go to training all the time and work hard, you will never know just how good you might have been,” said Robinson.

The youngsters, whose school and club had been selected for this visit by a random draw, were hanging on his every word. And they couldn't ask for a better role model.

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Jason Robinson is a man who has faced up to his demons and conquered adversity.

Having grown up in a council estate in Leeds, Robinson found his way in rugby despite coming from a completely non-sporty background.

In the beginning of his career there were much-documented problems with alcoholism, which he himself admits to in his autobiography, but he became entirely reformed as a born-again Christian.

Now he is the loving father of six between the ages of just ten months and 13 years old and is keen to make sure that the next generation of rugby talent doesn't fall into the same pitfalls as he did.

“When I was younger so many of my friends were going off and doing other things and I'm just so glad that I stuck in there through the thick and thin and the hail and sleet to come out the other side,” said Robinson.

“The way I see it is if I have been able to have the success I have had, coming from the background I did, then why can't anyone else do it?”

By his own admission Robinson doesn't believe he has enough knowledge to become a top-level senior Rugby Union coach, but what he does have is invaluable experience to pass on.

“Smoking, drinking, all that stuff, it really shouldn't have a place anywhere. But to stop that from happening with these kids you've just got to get them focussed on something.

“These kids have a lot of energy and if you don't find them something for them to do then it is likely that they will get up to mischief.

“At that age they are so impressionable so if you have to work on steering them in the right direction. All it takes is some general tips - it's not rocket science.”

Robinson added: “Clubs like this (Ipswich) are vital because if these youngsters weren't doing this than what would they be doing? Sports clubs play a massive part in the future of our children.

“Discipline is the main thing they can teach. If you have got the discipline then you can teach them anything.

“One of the reasons I retired was because all my weekends were taken up with rugby and it meant that my kids were being told daddy couldn't do this, that and the other. Now I can do all of the things that I wanted to do.

“I really enjoyed my rugby career, had a great time and have no regrets, but I knew it was the time for me to be at home and doing all the other things in life.”

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