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Jason Robinson: Finding My Feet

Release date: 01st September, 2003
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General

List Price: 18.99
Our Price: 13.29
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Injury permitting, Jason Robinson is likely to play a central role in this morning's Rugby World Cup clash between England and Wales. He could actually have been playing for Scotland against Australia yesterday, courtesy of having a Scottish mother. However, it is to be hoped that the man whom Clive Woodward persuaded to switch rugby codes gets the opportunity to face the Aussies later in the competition.

Robinson, like most of the England squad, has been mercilessly slated by the Australian press over the past few weeks. If, as we are led to believe, mental strength is as an important part of the modern sportsman's armoury as physical prowess, whichever team faces England should keep an eye on Jason Robinson, a man endowed with both qualities in spades.

It would be easy to sneer and suggest that Robinson's autobiography has been released to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, but this is an inspirational story of a sporting icon who had it all at a very early age and very nearly lost it.

At one point Robinson, then Rugby League's highest profile player, contemplated suicide as the drinking and womanising reached a stage where its destructive effects were self-perpetuating. His efforts to break the cycle were less than convincing reaching their nadir when he pulled a knife from his kitchen drawer: "I just felt so low" he writes, "I thought I really can't go on like this. I sat there with the knife in my hand and thought I could end all the misery."

At this point, Robinson realised only he was capable of redeeming himself and so began a personal journey to re-establish his life on a sounder footing.

Born in Leeds, Robinson's natural talent was evident when he moved to Hunslet with his mother and began playing rugby league for the town's boys club. Eventually, high flying Wigan signed the prodigy at the age of 17. He was immediately drafted into the first team, but the fame and the money went directly to his head.

Rightly perceived as an arrogant individual, the woman who is now his wife was instrumental in guiding Robinson to the most significant point of his life. The route to God was one his wife had taken herself and, supported by his Wigan team-mate, Va'aiga Tuigamala, himself a born-again Christian, the arrogance was ultimately replaced by humility.

Once Robinson had changed rugby codes, his route to the England team via his wing position at Sale was assured. He was the Lions' leading try scorer during their last Antipodean tour and it would please a lot of Englishmen if he were to repeat the feat later this month.


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