Rugby: Reality bites for ambitious Robinson

Benn Robinson. Photo / Getty Images
Benn Robinson. Photo / Getty Images

Sanity has finally prevailed for Benn Robinson with the Wallabies front rower prop conceding his Rugby World Cup dream is over and knee surgery is the only alternative.

One of the world's leading loosehead props, Robinson harboured ambitions of making the Wallabies 30-man squad despite suffering a knee injury in training before the season-opening loss to Samoa last month.

The 42-test veteran initially deferred surgery in a bold attempt to prove his fitness despite effectively playing without an anterior cruciate ligament but after running yesterday he accepted the World Cup was beyond him.

Robinson, 27, informed Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and hoped to have an operation today so he can start rehabilitating ahead of next year's Super rugby tournament.

"You never want to go into a game with the thought in the back of your mind that you might not be right.

So I made the decision. My knee is just not right. It's been on my mind for a while but (yesterday) it just came to a head. There were a few little hiccups along the way and I realised last week I was coming to the end of a dead end," Robinson told The Australian newspaper.

Robinson said a discussion with recently retired former Wallabies and NSW Waratahs teammate Phil Waugh convinced him not to risk career-ending damage by persevering.

"He said if my knee just was not going to be right then I should keep in mind that I'm only 27 and I have a lot of rugby left in me," said Robinson, who, in front rowers terms, could be in his prime for the 2015 World Cup in England.

"There was always the risk was that if I kept going and tried to play without an ACL I was going to do myself even more damage."

It was still an agonising decision for Robinson who also missed the 2007 World Cup with a foot injury after establishing himself as a cornerstone of the Wallabies pack.

Robinson's experience and capability will be sorely missed by Deans but the Tri-Nations indicates the much-maligned Wallabies pack might be able to cope in his absence after the front row of Sekope Kepu, the new loosehead, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander performed admirably against the Springboks and All Blacks.

Queensland tighthead prop James Slipper and Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau are also on the comeback trail from injury and will be included in the Cup squad on Thursday if they pass fitness tests.

Five-eighth Berrick Barnes declared himself available for selection after four club games convinced him he was over concussions problems, while wing Drew Mitchell also hoped to be in contention after recovering from the leg injury that short circuited his Super rugby campaign.

Meanwhile Waratahs and Wallabies No 8 Wycliff Palu maintained his fitness would be up to scratch if he was selected on trust after battling shoulder and knee injuries.

"If I am lucky enough to make the squad, I'll have no problems making the team for that first game," said Palu, who has watched Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham and Radike Samo jockey for his position.

Palu expects to return to the field alongside Polota-Nau, Mitchell and Slipper when the Australian Barbarians face Canada on August 26 on the Gold Coast.

- NZPA

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