Super Rugby

Waratahs most capped Prop Robinson retires




Wallabies and Waratahs prop Benn Robinson has been forced into early retirement due to an eye injury he sustained playing Super Rugby against the Brumbies.

Robinson is the Waratahs highest-ever capped player and has officially announced his retirement from rugby after making his provincial debut over a decade ago in 2004.

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The Wallabies prop suffered the eye injury in round eight when he got an accidental poke in the eye from Brumbies lock Rory Arnold during a line out.

Robinson’s eye injury caused blood cells to appear in the anterior chamber, or front of the lens, of the eye; a condition called microscopic hyphema.

His progress was further complicated by an increase in pressure within the eye and a tear to the retina, for which he underwent surgery. Whilst Robinson is expected to regain full sight, he has been advised that the risk to his eye is too great to continue his career in rugby.

With 155 games for NSW and 148 Super Rugby caps, Robinson will retire having represented his home state on more occasions than any other player in the Club’s entire history. Across that time, the 31-year-old front rower accrued a total of 45 points for NSW, with nine tries.

Robinson has also been a valuable member of the Australian national team, becoming Wallaby number 814 in the same year as his provincial debut, earning 72 international Test caps and 15 Test rugby points.

He has become well-known for adding key stability, experience and strength to the Waratahs and Wallaby scrums; his appearance statistics across the last 12 years truly highlighting his importance to both teams.

Off the field Robinson has earned a reputation as an established and mature leader, representing professional rugby players across the country as the President of the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) since 2014.

Family and friends gathered at NSW Waratahs headquarters today to celebrate and acknowledge Robinson’s commitment to rugby.

Speaking on behalf of the players, NSW Waratahs Club Captain, Dave Dennis reflected on Benn’s commitment to the team.

“As a playing group we are all disappointed for Benn, having to end his career as a result of his eye injury,” Dennis said.

“Benn has been the cornerstone of our scrum for over a decade and has been a loyal servant in the Waratahs jersey.

“More importantly Benn has been a great team man who has added immensely to the history of our club. All players, past and present, have enjoyed having his likeable personality amongst our team.

“On behalf of the playing group I would like to thank Benn for his contribution to the team and wish him well in his life after rugby.”

Born and bred in NSW, Robinson grew up in the suburb of Glenorie in Sydney’s north-west. He played his first rugby at the Beecroft Rugby Club and at The King’s School, where he represented in the first XV.

Robinson was selected in the Australian Schoolboys in 2002, the NSW Under 19s in 2003, the Australian Under 21s in 2005 and the Australia A side in 2006.

A steadfast member of the Eastwood Rugby Club, he represented the side at Colts level in 2003 before being promoted to first grade level in 2004, making 54 appearances for the ‘Woods in the Shute Shield.

His professional rugby career began with the Waratahs in 2004 on tour in Salta, Argentina ahead of his Super 14 debut in the opening round of 2006 against the Queensland Reds. He capped off a remarkable debut Super season winning the NSW Waratahs Rookie of the Year and earning his first Wallabies call up.

Throughout his entire career, Robinson has remained determined in his attitude to battle through injury and other setbacks to be considered one of the world’s best loosehead props.

He was called upon as the NSW Waratahs 163rd Captain, leading the team on 10 occasions in 2012, the same year he became just the sixth player to reach 100 games for NSW.

His international career is just as illustrious, becoming just the third Australian prop to reach a half century of Test matches after Al Baxter and Ewen McKenzie. In 2009 he was the runner up for Australian rugby’s prized, John Eales Medal, and took home the award as Australia’s favourite player at the annual ceremony.

Robinson earned the title as the Waratahs’ highest-capped player last year when he ran out for his 137th game for NSW against the Queensland Reds in March, surpassing his former NSW Waratahs Captain and self-confessed hero, Phil Waugh.

Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika paid tribute to Robinson, who he coached to a Super Rugby title in 2014.

“Every player who has the honour of playing for the Wallabies has a responsibility to leave their own special mark on the jersey for the next generation to shape and build on, which Benn has certainly done.

“He should be incredibly proud of what he achieved in his career, and excited about what lies ahead.”

Benn Robinson
Date of birth: 19/07/1984
Position: Prop
Club: Eastwood
NSW debut: v Salta, Salta Argentina 16 October 2004
NSW caps: 155
NSW points: 45 (nine tries)
Super Rugby debut: v Queensland Reds, Brisbane Queensland, 11 February 2006
Super Rugby caps: 148
Super Rugby points: 45 (nine tries)
Test rugby debut: v South Africa, Johannesburg South Africa, 9 September 2006
Test rugby caps: 72
Test rugby points: 15 (three tries)
Representative teams: The King’s School First XV, GPS First XV, NSW Schools, Australian Schoolboys, NSW Under 19s, Australian Under 21s, Australia A, Eastwood, Greater Sydney Rams, Barbarians, NSW Waratahs, Australian Wallabies.

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