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Jason Robinson
Birth nameJason Thorpe Robinson
Date of birth (1974-07-30) 30 July 1974 (age 49)
Place of birthLeeds, Yorkshire, England
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight12 st 11 lb (81 kg)
ChildrenCameron, Jemimah, Joseph and Lewis
Rugby league career
Position(s) Fullback, Wing
Correct as of 1 November 2006
Correct as of 1 November 2006
Correct as of 13 Sept 2006
Rugby union career
Position(s) wing, Full back centre
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Sale Sharks
Correct as of 27 July 2010
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2001 & 2005
British and Irish Lions
Correct as of 13 Feb 2007

Jason Thorpe Robinson OBE (born 30 July 1974 in Leeds, West Yorkshire) is an English former dual-code international rugby union and rugby league player of the 1990s and 2000s. Playing at wing or fullback, he won fifty-one rugby union international test caps in total for England, and in rugby league he won twelve caps for Great Britain and seven for England. Throughout his career Robinson was noted for his acceleration.

On 25 February 2009 it was announced that Robinson had agreed a contract to return to Sale Sharks as Head Coach from the end of the 2008-09 season replacing Kingsley Jones who moves upstairs to fill the vacancy left by the departing Frenchman Philippe Saint-André.

On the 26 July 2010, Robinson came out of retirement after a 3 year absence to play for League Two side Fylde.[1] On 7 July 2011, Robinson announced his retirement from the game of rugby after one season with National League One club Fylde.[2]

Rugby league

Robinson began playing rugby as a child at the Hunslet Boys Club and then Hunslet Parkside before starting his rugby league career in 1991 at semi-professional side Hunslet Hawks. Despite being offered a contract by Leeds, he stuck by his side, as it would have meant leaving at an inconvenient time. He was later rewarded by a contract with Wigan who went on to dominate British rugby league. His form quickly establishing him in Wigan's first team, as a teenager he was touted as a future halfback or loose forward. He was selected to play on the wing for Wigan against the visiting Brisbane Broncos in the 1992 World Club Challenge.[3]

In 1993 Robinson played in his first Challenge Cup Final, with Wigan defeating Widnes.[4] Later that year at age 19 Robinson was first selected to represent Great Britain on the wing against New Zealand.[5]

After the 1993–94 Rugby Football League season Robinson travelled with defending champions Wigan to Brisbane, playing on the wing in their 1994 World Club Challenge victory over Australian premiers, the Brisbane Broncos.

It was reported in 1995 that Robinson was offered a 4-year deal worth a record £1.25 million by the Australian Rugby League to play down under for the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of the 1997 season.[6] He recovered from a foot injury to play in Wigan's 30-10 Challenge Cup Final victory over Leeds, scoring two tries and earning himself the Lance Todd Trophy as man-of-the-match.[7]

In 1996, rugby union had gone open, allowing professional players for the first time, and rugby league went from a winter sport to a summer sport, so a number of league players chose to play part of a season for a rugby union club. Robinson agreed to play for Bath. At the end of the first Super League season, Robinson was named on the wing in the 1996 Super League Dream Team.

In the midst of the Super League war, Robinson played a one-off international for a "Rest of the World" team in their 28-8 loss against the Australian Rugby League's Kangaroos in mid-1997.[8] With his contracted move to Sydney set to take place at the conclusion of the 1997 season, Robinson had had a change of heart and Wigan were able to negotiate his release from the ARL's contract so he could continue playing for his club.[9] He then scored a try for Great Britain in each of the three matches against Australia in the post-season Super League Test series.

In 1998 Robinson scored Wigan's sole try in Super League's first ever Grand Final, which the Cherry & Whites won. As a result he was awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man-of-the-match. He was also named on the wing in the 1998 season's Super League Dream Team and again in 1999 and 2000.

Robinson played at fullback in Wigan's loss to St Helens in the 2000 Super League Grand Final.[10] Days after the match, it was announced that he had signed for the Zurich Premiership's Sale Sharks rugby union side, with Robinson citing the lack of anything left to prove in rugby league and the desire to represent England and Great Britain in the 15-man code.[11]

Rugby union

He made his debut for rugby union team Sale Sharks against Coventry in November 2000. In the 2005/6 season he became the first person to have lifted both the Guinness Premiership and the Super League trophies.

National team

Robinson made his England debut as a substitute against Italy in February 2001, having played in the A match against Wales at Wrexham a fortnight earlier. In doing so he was only the second man ever to play rugby union for England after having first played Rugby League for Great Britain (the first having been Barrie-Jon Mather in 1999).

He has scored 30 tries in 56 international matches, including a memorable dash to touch down in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia. He played in all seven of England’s World Cup games in 2003.

In the 2007 Rugby World Cup Jason Robinson remained one of the few consistent players in the pool stage and despite getting a hamstring injury in England's disappointing pool clash against South Africa came back to play in an unexpected victory over Australia. Robinson continued this form in the semi-final against hosts France where he was given the honour of leading his side out to earn his 50th cap. England won the match 14-9 to earn themselves an unlikely Final place and a chance for Robinson to bow out of the game at the highest level. Unfortunately he suffered an injury and was substituted after 46 minutes with England eventually losing 6-15 to South Africa. He had announced his retirement before the world cup.


After Lawrence Dallaglio's international retirement in 2005, Jonny Wilkinson was initially appointed captain. However, Wilkinson was injured for the 2005 autumn internationals and Robinson was appointed captain. He was the 118th captain of England, the first mixed-race player and the first former rugby league player to captain England. In his first appearance as captain, he scored a hat-trick of tries in a 70-0 wipeout of Canada.

In the 2004 Six Nations, he scored three tries playing as a centre in the opening match against Italy and was named Man of the Match. Robinson chose to opt out of the 2004 summer tour to recharge his batteries.

The choice of Robinson as captain came in for some criticism [citation needed] after leading England's poor 2005 Six Nations campaign, in which they lost more games than they won for the first time since 1983.

The Lions

Robinson was chosen for the 2001 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia and was one of the outstanding players in the side that won the first Test in Brisbane 29-13. In that game he sidestepped past Australian fullback Chris Latham. He went on to score another try in the final Test.

Robinson was again called up to the Lions' 2005 tour of New Zealand. He was excused from travelling with the bulk of the touring party in order to spend time with his wife, who was expecting the couple's fourth child in August. Throughout his career, he normally brought his wife and children along when he went on a tour, but her pregnancy made this impossible for the 2005 tour. He joined the team on 7 June, well in advance of the first New Zealand test on 25 June.

International retirement

Robinson playing for Sale Sharks towards the end of the 2005–2006 Guinness Premiership in which he led the club to their first Premiership title.

On 24 September 2005, Robinson announced his retirement from international rugby union, stating that he wished to spend more time with his family.[12] In the 2005–2006 season, Robinson led his club Sale Sharks to their first ever Premiership title.


Robinson returned to the England set-up for the 2007 Six Nations tournament, following the decision of new Head Coach Brian Ashton to recall him to provide the leadership and winning quality the team had lacked in recent months, ending a 15 month absence from the international scene.[13] He scored two tries on his return in England's opening victory over Scotland. He also scored another try against the Italians the following week.

On 2 April 2007, Robinson announced he would retire from playing club rugby at the end of the 2006/07 season. He also announced he would participate, if required, in England's summer friendlies and the 2007 Rugby World Cup, before retiring completely from the sport. His last game for Sale Sharks came at home to Bath on Friday 13 April. Robinson said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sale Sharks but the time has come to move on to other things. I want my last game for Sale Sharks to be a home game (v Bath) and want to be able to say a big thank you to the supporters of this great club.”

On 13 April 2007, Robinson ended his club career with a match-winning try 6 seconds from time as Sale edged past Bath in the Guinness Premiership. In the last play of the game, he received the ball 30 metres out and could not be stopped. He was then given the opportunity to convert the try, only to miss by a matter of inches past the left post.

On 14 September 2007, Robinson left the field to a standing ovation during England's defeat by South Africa, with a hamstring injury. This kept him out of England's remaining two group games, but he resumed full training in time to be available to play in the knock-out stages. In the quarter final against Australia, Robinson returned to the side as full back and played his part in a tense 12-10 victory over the wallabies. In the Semi-Final win against France, his 50th cap, he was given the honour of leading out the England team. Robinson's final game for England came in the 2007 World Cup Final loss to South Africa, when he was forced to leave the field during the second half, due to an injury. He was one of only four players to have started both the 2003 and 2007 RWC Finals, the other three being Jonny Wilkinson, Ben Kay and Phil Vickery.

Robinson was selected to play for the Barbarians at Twickenham on 1 December 2007, Robinson showed many of his trademark lightning runs and received a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time in the 68th minute of the match.


On the 26 July 2010, Jason called himself out of retirement at the age of 35 to play for National League Two side, Fylde. He announced his final retirement on 7 July 2011.

Coaching career

On 5 March 2008 the RFL announced that Robinson would be returning to rugby league in a coaching capacity at grass roots level from under 8's to open age for the England national side becoming a dual code ambassador for the sport in association with Gillette.[14]

On 25 February 2009 it was announced that Robinson would be re-joining Sale Sharks as the new head coach from the 2009-10 season.[15]

Personal life

Cover of Finding My Feet: My Autobiography, published by Coronet Books 10 May 2004

He is of Scottish and Jamaican heritage.[16] His father William Thorpe, a Jamaican living in Leeds, left his mother before Robinson's birth. Robinson and his older brother and sister were rasied by his mother and a step father. In 2003, he was reunited with his natural father again through his brother and sister.[17]

Robinson himself is a father to six children. Maried to Amanda, the couple live on a farm in the Ribble Valley with their five children.[17] In 2012, his 18 year old eldest son Lewis Tierney who plays as a full back signed a two year deal with Wigan Warriors.[18]

Robinson is nicknamed 'Billy Whizz' after a character in the British comic The Beano, who is extremely fast. He is a recovering alcoholic who became a Christian partly due to the influence of ex-Wigan Warriors team-mate Va'aiga Tuigamala.[19]

Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.

After the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Robinson wrote an autobiography entitled Finding My Feet: My Autobiography published by Coronet Books. In it, he wrote about how he overcame issues from his childhood and bouts of drinking when he found success as a rugby league star. In 2005, a biography, The Real Jason Robinson, written with Robinson's full co-operation by Dave Swanton, was published by Empire Publications.

See also


  1. ^ Palmer, Bryn (8 November 2004). "Cross-code jewel claims England crown". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Robinson ends illustrious career". BBC News. 7 July 2011.
  3. ^ Hadfield, Dave (Friday, 30 October 1992). "Wigan must be wary of Broncos' enthusiasm and flair". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Check date values in: |date= (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help); More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  4. ^ (27 February 2004). "Wonderful Wigan: Jason Robinson". BBC Sport. UK: BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  5. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1993-10-12). "Robinson wings in for Test debut". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 2010-06-01. ((cite news)): More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  6. ^ Hadfield, Dave (28 April 1995). "£1.25m deal for Wigan's wing". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help); More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  7. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1 May 1995). "Robinson's power is Wigan's glory". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help); More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  8. ^ Hadfield, Dave (12 July 1997). "Paris under pressure". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help); More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  9. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1 November 1997). "Prodigal finds peace and new meaning in his play". The Independent. UK: Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help); More than one of |location= and |place= specified (help)
  10. ^ (14 October 2000). "Grand final clockwatch". BBC Sport. UK: BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  11. ^ (17 October 2000). "Sharks snap up Robinson at last". BBC Sport. UK: BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2010. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  12. ^ "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | English | Robinson to quit internationals". London: Last Updated:. Retrieved 2008-11-13. ((cite news)): Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  13. ^ "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | English | England pick Wilkinson & Farrell". London: Last Updated:. Retrieved 2008-11-13. ((cite news)): Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  14. ^ engage Super League | Robinson Takes On Coaching Role
  15. ^ Bech, Duncan (25 February 2009). "Jason Robinson takes charge at Sale". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b "Jason Robinson: '36 years later, I've got "dad" in my phone book'". The Independent. 12 September 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Jason Robinson's son Lewis Tierney signs with Wigan Warriors". The Guardian. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Tell Me More - Hungry? Thirsty? Empty?". Retrieved 2008-11-13. [dead link]
Sporting positions Preceded byLawrence Dallaglio English National Rugby Union Captain Nov 2004-Feb 2005 Succeeded byMartin Corry Preceded byMike Catt English National Rugby Union Captain May 2007 Succeeded byJonny Wilkinson