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Robinson's efforts respected by team

NZRU

Sportal.co.nz     28 Sep 2007     NZRU

Forwards coach Steve Hansen said one of the key things about Robinson was that everyone knew what he had been through to get to the World Cup and his medical history with back problems and calf issues was well known.

"They [the players] have a huge amount of respect for what he does just to get on the park and that's followed up by what he actually does on the park," Hansen said.

"He's a genuine warrior and he gives you 100 percent every time he plays.

"The players respect that. He's definitely a physical character - that's his nature. He plays like that and that stiffens up the whole side really."

Coach Graham Henry also acknowledged the hard road it had been for Robinson.

"He tweaked his calf very early on in the piece when we first arrived here for the Rugby World Cup. I think he went back a couple of steps a couple of weeks later by trying to push it too quickly and he's been patient over the last couple of weeks.

"He's been superbly handled by the medical staff of the team, they've been very patient with him and held him back."

In an admission that nothing can ever be taken for granted with Robinson's fitness, Henry said there was still one training session to get through before he played on Saturday.

"He's in great shape. The strategy of the medical staff has been superb and they've got him right and I'm sure he can't wait to get on the track.

"It's been a frustration for him and I think he wondered at times if the frustration had been worthwhile, but I'm 99 percent sure that after Saturday he'll feel good about this whole thing," he said.

Henry said it was good to have a full arsenal of locking talent available again. He was pleased with the way that Ali Williams and Chris Jack had responded to the situation and others who had stood in at lock at different times.

"We've tried to keep Ali [Williams] and Jacko [Jack] as fresh as we can as well and it's good to have Reuben [Thorne] and Robbo [Robinson] back on track.

"I thought Reuben played particularly well for a guy who hadn't played for a while against Scotland. I thought he was very sound, very reliable, which is why he's here and I'm sure Robbo will stand up at the weekend," he said.