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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Robinson reaps the rewards
Jason Robinson in action for England
Robinson in sparkling Six Nations form

Jason Robinson's crowning as Zurich Player of the Year and Professional Rugby Players' Association's player of the year is just reward for a 12 months in which he once again lit up English rugby.

There were those, even in the England squad, who questioned whether the former Wigan man would enjoy the same success in union as he did in league.

Not any more. After eight tries in 11 international appearances, his pedigree is beyond doubt.

  Sale's speedster
Height: 5'8'
Weight: 13st 4lbs
Born: 30 July 1974, Leeds
Previous clubs: Wigan Warriors, Bath
Position: wing, full-back
Sale debut: 5 Nov 2000
England caps (union): 11
Test tries (union): 8
His club side, Sale, have enjoyed a wonderful year - runners-up in the Zurich Premiership, in the semi-finals of the Zurich Championship and the final of the Parker Pen Shield.

Robinson, as always, has taken it all in his choppy little stride with quiet modesty.

Will he celebrate the end of his season with a night on the sauce or a fortnight in the sun with the lads?

No. He's taking his wife and three kids on a caravanning trip to North Wales.

How does he like to unwind at the end of a tough day's play? By helping out in a homeless shelter or reading the Beano. His worst habit? Biting his nails.

A committed Christian after being converted by former Wigan team-mate Va'aiga Tuigamala, Robinson is almost ridiculously well-behaved off the pitch.

On it, he is capable of creating utter havoc in opposition defences.

Jason Robinson in action for England
Robinson's power and pace have made him a crowd favourite
No other player represents so clearly Clive Woodward's strategy of attacking, adventurous rugby. Picked at full-back in the autumn internationals, Robinson was the subject of criticism from Australia's coach Eddie Jones.

Jones questioned whether the man nicknamed Billy Whizz had the tactical nous and defensive skills to play number 15.

Two minutes into the Cook Cup game, Robinson was tested by a probing Matt Burke punt deep into the 22. He took it with ease and went on to put on a sterling display as England won 21-15.

Dedication in training

When union players talk of lessons learnt from the influx of the league boys, it's the example of Robinson which crops up most often.

His dedication in training is legendary. Jonny Wilkinson, after his destruction of Ireland last February, made his feelings about Robinson clear.

"Being made to look silly by Jason in training is a major motivation for me," he said.

Jason Robinson in action for England
Robinson breaks to score against France
"He is a world leader in terms of footwork. He may look at me and think I might be able to kick some goals, but I look at him and think, 'Jeez, that boy can go. I'd like to be like that.'

"When you see someone who is so far ahead, you understand what is achievable and you say to yourself, 'Wow, we can all be so much better.'

"Now I'm constantly taking people on in training, working one-on-one, doing a lot of sprint work.

"Jason is wonderful for the team as well as the sport. I don't think I'll ever be as good as him, but I can try."

Robinson's latest honour adds to a long list of successes in rugby's other code.

A Grand Final winner with Wigan, he also won three Challenge Cup finals medals, one World Club championship medal, four Championship winners' medals and three John Player Trophy awards.

For Wigan and Great Britain combined he scored 184 tries in 302 matches, and still jointly holds the record of having scored tries in six successive Great Britain Test matches.

See also:

21 May 02 | English
19 May 02 | English
13 May 02 | English
29 Apr 02 | European
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