Jason Robinson was the deadliest finisher in world rugby at his peak. The England winger constantly stumped defences, and because of it, he'll go down as one of the greatest of all time
Major teams: Wigan RL, Bath, Sale
Test span: 2001-07
England caps: 51 (47 starts)
Lions caps: 5 (5 starts)
Test points: 150 (30T)
The 5ft 8in Yorkshireman brought incredible professionalism to an England camp not long out of the amateur era, with Jonny Wilkinson saying Robinson’s arrival forced him to re-evaluate the game.
“His ability to beat players both ways, and make 90-degree direction changes without losing speed, obliterated what I believed were the limits for footwork and speed.”
Robinson went on to master union as he had league, becoming a world champion in 2003 after scoring England’s only try of the final and punching the ball high into the Sydney stands.
Two years earlier, he had made the Lions Test team in the same country having not yet started for England. After scoring five tries on his Lions debut in a provincial fixture, Robinson bamboozled Chris Latham in the proverbial phone box to set the tourists on their way to victory in Brisbane.
Coach Graham Henry hailed him as “a Gerald Davies for the new millennium.”
Ironically, Robinson started more games at full-back (28) than wing (19) for England, and those who doubted his ability to catch the high ball were soon assuaged by his athletic prowess; he had a 3ft standing jump that enabled him to out leap far taller men. Robinson was to captain England at the RWC 2007 final, playing through the pain having damaged a hamstring in the warm-up.
Thus ended a career that included an English title with Sale, seven England and 12 GB caps in league, and 171 in 273 starts for Wigan. He went on to coach Sale and had a brief playing stint at Fylde before calling time for good in July 2011.
A born-again christian who called a halt to the heavy drinking that scarred his early years as a pro sportsman, Robinson is fifth on the all-time England try list with 28.