Robinson fears failure

He may be a multi medal-winning World Cup winner but the fear of failure still drives British & Irish Lion Jason Robinson. [more]

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He may be a multi medal-winning World Cup winner but the fear of failure still drives British & Irish Lion Jason Robinson.

The Sale skipper will become the first player to win Grand Finals in both rugby union and rugby league on Saturday if he can lead the ambitious north-west outfit to victory over Leicester at Twickenham.

A triumph against the Tigers would force Robinson to clear another space in a trophy cabinet already groaning under the weight of his World Cup medal, two Six Nations’ gongs – including a Grand Slam – and six Lions caps, plus, from his Wigan days, two Challenge Cups, seven championships and a World Club triumph over Brisbane in Australia.

Even Robinson, who turns 32 in July, admits if his career had ended six years ago before his historic cross-code switch he would have been able to look back on his achievements with pride.

But when he steps back out at HQ on Saturday, on the ground where he has thrilled so many times in the white shirt of England, Robinson will be consumed by a desperation not to have to stand and watch Leicester skipper Martin Corry lift the Guinness Premiership trophy above his head.

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"There is nothing worse than losing in a final," he said.

"I would rather lose in the first round of anything than suffer that experience.

"As captain, occasionally my mind does drift off and think what it would be like to lift the trophy. But more often, it goes in another direction and brings the fear factor of having to watch someone else do it.

"Those are the thoughts that drive me on. I still want to play in big games on the biggest stage. What I do not want to do is stand on the pitch at the end with my head in my hands watching someone else celebrate."

On form, it should be Robinson and his team who are celebrating this weekend.

With a win and a draw from their two previous meetings with the Tigers this term, Sale hold the edge in head-to-head combat, while a six-point advantage over the Midlands giants from their top of the table finish confirms extra consistency too.

Aside from the added forward potency credited to the arrival of coach Kingsley Jones, Sale have also benefited from Robinson’s decision to quit international rugby in 2005.

Although the full-back insists he is no more focused as a result of his decision to concentrate solely on club matters, he does admit to being infinitely more relaxed as a result of being able to spend more time with his wife and young family.

"I didn’t need to justify my decision not to play for England," he said.

"I had my reasons. I have been able to spend more time with them and I have not been as stressed because I have not been going away so often.

"It is stating the obvious, but you cannot be in two places at once. If I was training with England, I couldn’t be involved in what was happening at Sale.

"Thankfully, I do not have to split myself anymore."

Robinson, whose present contract expires at the end of next season, believes he has another two years’ rugby left in him, claiming his body is still up to the rigours of weekly top flight combat.

Mentally, he is happy with life too and still retains the intense desire to make the most of occasions like Saturday.

He added: "You cannot take finals like [Saturday’s] for granted because you never know whether they will come round again.

"I am still hungry to win things and have a lot of drive. If I play I want to win – I can’t see me ever just going through the motions."

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