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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
No stopping 'Billy Whizz'

By BBC Sport Online's Sanjeev Shetty

Apparently, Jason Robinson decided to have his television removed from his house a month ago.

One wonders whether the side-stepping winger had an inkling that, with selection for the Lions tour of Australia becoming a certainty, he would not need any further entertainment during the summer.

The 26-year-old is deeply principled - he believes there is too much 'rubbish' on television - as well as being exceptionally modest.

He believed that he had not been selected for the squad after not hearing from an official and only a call from his father-in-law convinced him.

He is great on his feet and whether he starts or comes off the bench that's a great asset to have
  Jonathan Davies

Such has been Robinson's progress since switching codes that very few experts need further proof of his qualities.

One person well placed to analyse Robinson's fate on the tour of Australia is BBC Sport's Jonathan Davies, a former Lion who believes that being thrown into such a massive event at the start of his career will be of huge benefit.

"I think it will be great for him.

"When I began my rugby league career, I went on a six-week tour and it was invaluable in getting a crash course."

"I'm sure it will be the same for him and it's going to enhance and speed up his development as a rugby union player."

Davies spent the early part of his career as a rugby union player before switching to league.

And he believes that Robinson's trademark skills - his speed and running style - will prove just as effective against an Australian team reputed to have the best defence in the world.

"He is great on his feet and whether he starts or comes off the bench that's always a great asset to have.

"I'm sure he will be a good acquisition for the Lions."

Helping the homeless is something I've always wanted to do. It's an issue that should be taken very seriously. No-one should have to sleep rough
  Jason Robinson

Robinson, originally from Leeds, signed for Wigan from amateur side Hunslet Parkside in 1991 at the age of 17.

From beginning his career as a scrum-half, he was switched to wing by the Wigan coaching staff and never looked back.

During his time at Wigan he played in three Challenge Cup final matches and was named man of the match in the 1995 match against Leeds

Although often part of a dominant team, Robinson's stunning pace from a standing start made him a very special performer.

It was in the winter of the 1996/97 season that he flirted briefly with rugby union for the first time, guesting at Bath RUFC, where he said he was made "very welcome".

During 2000 it became clear that Robinson would be exploring the challenge of union on a full-time basis.

Big impression

"I do have international ambitions and I can't deny that it would be fantastic to get the chance to play for England but we will have to wait and see what happens," he said at the time.

"I have to confirm that it was the RFU who approached me in the first place"

The deal that took the man known as 'Billy Whizz' to Sale Sharks was rumoured to be worth 1m and was partially funded by the RFU.

Since joining the sport full-time, Robinson has made a big impression for club and country, although he has yet to start a game for England.

Jason Robinson in a Wigan Warriors shirt
Robinson served Wigan for many fruitful years
Ironically, it was another player who had crossed codes, Va'aiga Tuigamala, who introduced Robinson to Christianity during his stay at the club.

Religion now plays a huge part in the winger's life.

He spend his spare time reading the Bible and going to church, while he spends each Sunday handing out hot drinks, food and clothing to homeless people in Manchester .

"Helping the homeless is something I've always wanted to do," he says. "It's an issue that should be taken very seriously. No-one should have to sleep rough."

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