England boss Brian Ashton has led the tributes to "remarkable" Jason Robinson, after handing him his 50th cap in a World Cup semi-final.
Robinson, keeping with tradition for England players who reach the half-century milestone, is set to lead out the world champions against host nation France on Saturday night.
With the 33-year-old poised for retirement from England duty after the tournament, a sell-out 80,000 crowd at Stade de France will acclaim one of rugby's most exhilarating talents.
Ashton said: "I started to watch him play from an early age.
"When I moved down from Lancashire to the south-west I still used to go back up and watch Wigan rugby league.
"I just remember Jason being part of a phenomenal rugby team - and I could not believe my luck in 1996 when I was head coach at Bath and Jason came down to play for us for four months. It was an incredibly exciting time for me."
Robinson initially stepped down from England duty in September 2005 - but he returned earlier this year to pen one final chapter that could now conclude with securing a second World Cup winner's medal.
Ashton added: "He is a remarkable rugby player, and I am delighted he came out of retirement.
"I had spoken Jason in September last year - I think we bumped into each other at Sale - and I was keen to get him back. I was delighted when he said yes."
England captain Phil Vickery also saluted Robinson's impact on both codes of rugby, with Saturday's clash his 539th game in league and union.
Vickery said: "Like most people, I used to watch Jason play for Wigan and Great Britain - I think I was about eight years old at the time!
"He is a fantastic talent, and the most abiding memory for me - it will live with me forever - was during the Lions tour of Australia in 2001 and the try he scored in the first Test in Brisbane.
"That try at The Gabba was a magical moment. He is one very special, talented old man."
Full-back Robinson will line up in an unchanged England side following last weekend's stirring quarter-final victory over Australia.
It is the first time for almost two years that England have kept the same team in two successive Tests.