Finest hour awaits
Sportal.co.nz 03 Aug 2012 Getty Images
The transfer north, where the prospect of playing consistently at fullback rather than varying between there and first five-eighths, was an attraction and every time he unleashes one of his searing midfield breaks 25,500 Chiefs fans are pleased that he opted to step into the boots of another Southlander, Mils Muliaina.
Robinson has never needed to pinch himself to maintain a sense of reality at making the Super final, that has been part and parcel of the Chiefs approach this year. It's all about the next game.
But there was little doubt that the excitement levels increased when the final whistle blew in the semi-final win over the Crusaders.
"I remember that final whistle going, seeing them drop the ball and the amount of excitement that came over me was pretty overwhelming but you've got to come back down to Earth because we've got one more to go," he said.
What has made Robinson's effort all the more impressive is the fact he has played much of the season with a groin strain, something that flares up occasionally, but which won't affect his availability to act as the rearguard on Saturday.
"It has halted my progress a wee bit because I can't get all the training in I would like, but I feel I've progressed and if I can just keep growing I'm happy with where things are heading," he said.
Given the all-star five-eighths the Sharks have in their armoury, Springbok Patrick Lambie coming back from injury or French ace Frederick Michalak, Robinson is prepared for the challenge that either one represents, especially with their tactical kicking.
"If they want to kick us the ball, that will hopefully be to their detriment. We've done a lot of video imaging and have looked at Michalak, not so much Lambie because he hasn't played a lot lately. It will be interesting if Lambie plays, but if they kick us the ball – happy days," he said.
The move north has been a boost for Robinson's game, and once he made the decision he was excited about the prospects.
"I'm still excited today about the move and obviously we've gone well," he said.
That excitement has also seen him sign for two more years with the Chiefs which was another calming factor because it gave certainty to the future.
Robinson said he felt he had reached a plateau in his game before joining the Chiefs and it didn't help that he was switching positions.
"I said to myself, 'I want to be a fullback', and when I got the opportunity to come up here and they wanted me as a fullback I was obviously really excited about that and I find I've got more motivation now. It's hard when you're only young and you are getting a bit stale but it has been pretty full on since school.
"You need to get out of that environment and realise how big the world is out there. Coming up here was a bit of an eye-opener and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he said.
At the same time there was no temptation to forget his Southland roots for the ITM Cup.
"It's home for me and I like being able to go back there to see friends and family and if I ever get the opportunity to head back down there then I do and I am looking forward to getting back down there with Southland.
"Obviously the environment is a bit more relaxed than it is in the professional game," he said.
Robinson felt he also thrived with the coaching of Dave Rennie and former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith.
"Renns, as you have seen, has got different ideas from his attack that we haven't quite nailed on the paddock yet, hopefully we can this weekend but he's got some great game plans, flexible game plans and Smithy, you can see the value he adds defensively to the team," he said.
Standing behind the defensive wall that was put up against the Crusaders in the dying moments of the game was impressive, he said, and it was something the was a result of the team environment.
And it was a wall the Chiefs would need to contain to halt the Sharks.
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