Rugby: Wallabies veteran announces early retirement

Benn Robinson speaks to the media as he announces he retirement during a Waratahs press conference at Moore Park in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images
Benn Robinson speaks to the media as he announces he retirement during a Waratahs press conference at Moore Park in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

Veteran Wallabies prop Benn Robinson has choked back tears while announcing his premature retirement due to a serious eye injury.

Robinson's NSW teammates, his mother and several friends were on hand at Waratahs headquarters in Sydney on Tuesday when the 31-year-old declared his 72-Test career over.

Robinson copped an accidental poke in the eye from Brumbies lock Rory Arnold in a lineout at Allianz Stadium seven weeks ago.

With 155 games for NSW to his credit, including 148 in Super Rugby since making his debut in 2006, Robinson hangs up his boots as the most-capped player in Waratahs history.

He said it was devastating to walk away from the game he's played since age eight.

"To hear from a doctor that I can't do that any more is a tough pill to swallow," Robinson said.

"Rugby has been part of my life for so many years that for it to end like this is just so disappointing."

Robinson fears he might suffer from blurred vision for the rest of his life.

"The doctors went in after surgery and found a few more issues than they initially thought," he said.

"There could be more surgeries in the future but my vision's still blurry in my right eye so that's probably potentially going to stay like that."

The popular player, who was more concerned about a back, neck or knee problem ending his career, said he'd had a rough time since suffering the injury.

"For the first three or weeks I couldn't do anything. I couldn't drive and train," he said.

"But I was sitting in the office two weeks ago and I heard about a guy with a brain tumour and I've got a poke in the eye. There's worse things in life than a poke in the eye.

"I'm very fortunate, very lucky to have had such a long career but I wasn't expecting a poke in the eye to finish it."

Injury cruelled robbed Robinson of a World Cup appearance but Wallabies coach Michael
Cheika said the prop he helped guide to a Super Rugby title in 2014 nevertheless had a big impact on Australian rugby.

"Every player who has the honour of playing for the Wallabies has a responsibility to leave their own special mark on the jersey for the next generation to shape and build on, which Benn has certainly done," Cheika said.

Waratahs club captain Dave Dennis hailed Robinson as the ultimate team man after the front-rower placed playing for NSW with his mates as the highlight of his career.

"It would be easy for me to say winning the premiership or (getting) my first cap but walking into this office every day, that's special," Robinson said.

"That's something I'm going to miss the most - coming in here and seeing the boys."

BENN ROBINSON'S CAREER IN A SNAPSHOT
Age: 31
Position: Prop
NSW Waratahs:155 games (record), 148 Super Rugby games (record), 7 tries, 35 points
Australia: 72 Tests, 3 tries, 15 points
Awards: 2006 Australian Super Rugby rookie of the year; 2009 people's choice award as Australia's best player

- AAP

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