Rugby Championship News

Keith Robinson keeps fingers crossed





Keith Robinson is preparing, once again, to make a Test comeback from injury in Saturday’s Tri-Nations match against South Africa, praying for a clean bill of health this time.

It will only be his ninth Test in five years, a half-decade in which he has also overcome a serious back problem which kept him out of the game for two years and which was thought to have ended his career. Remarkably, it will also be Robinson’s first Tri-Nations match.

Robinson made it back from his back injury into Graham Henry’s 2006 All Blacks to face England at Twickenham, nearly four years to the day after making his debut there, and played well enough to be considered a permanent member of the squad.

Then, against France in Wellington in June, Robinson bizarrely tore a calf muscle in the warm-up, keeping him out of rugby since.

“I’ve got used to dealing with injury,” he said to the NZPA.

“At the time you think it’s the end of the world but you get over it pretty quick because you have to really.

“Deep down I knew I wouldn’t be playing that night as soon as I did it.

“I could have played on it but I knew the chance of ripping it open meant it probably wasn’t worth it.”

Robinson was joined not long after by Ali Williams, who had his jaw badly broken by an onrushing Sebastian Chabal, and had his injury quickly snapped, so to speak, into perspective.

“Then I didn’t feel so bad,” he reflected.

“There’s a lot worse injuries out there than a torn calf but it’s still not easy to deal with.”

The All Blacks have been suffering something of a lock crisis this year, with James Ryan and Jason Eaton both ruled out for the year, Ali Williams breaking his jaw, and Chris Jack taking time out to be with his new-born child, as well as Robinson’s injury.

Assistant coach Steve Hansen believed Robinson would provide an infusion of steel to an All Blacks team who weren’t mentally on song in their loss to Australia at Melbourne.

“He’s a great attitude-setter because he does everything at 110 per cent plus and he trains exactly like he plays. If you get in the way, you get run over,” said Hansen.

“It’s great. People know where they stand and it lifts the attitude of the people around him.”
365 Digital

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