Robinson signs new Reds deal
June 28, 2011
Robinson has enjoyed a remarkable season for the Reds © Getty Images
The Reds have received a boost ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final against the Blues with the news that flanker Beau Robinson has signed a new contract.
Robinson will remain a Red until the end of 2013 and revealed he agreed to a new deal last month. Robinson will return to the mix for Saturday's clash after dislocating his elbow against the Crusaders on May 29 and is "proud" of what he has achieved during his time at the Queensland franchise.
"It's good to finally have that security after a few years just floating about in the wilderness not knowing what was going to happen next," Robinson told The AAP. "I'm pretty proud. It's not lost on me what I've achieved this year so far - where I've come from and what I've had to do to get here - so it makes it extra special and means a lot more to me."
Robinson arrived at the Reds following a difficult couple of years which started with him being discarded by the Waratahs in 2008. Robinson then signed to play for the Benevento Gladiators in Italy, but following the death of his brother, returned to Australia. After playing club rugby last season in Sydney, the flanker begged former Waratahs' coach Ewen McKenzie for a chance at the Reds and became part of their wider training squad for this season, while working in an Ipswich hotel to make ends meet.
"It's good to just have the focus on football again. I'm pretty fortunate," he told NZPA. "This year was pretty much it for me, it was dire straits so when Link (McKenzie) let me train I tried to remain positive and give it all I've got."
Robinson has been a stand-out player in this year's Super Rugby and has been a regular fixture in the starting XV for the Reds since round three, seeing off fellow rivals for the openside berth, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz, Ed Quirk, Ben Coridas and Lei Tomiki, in the process.
If, as expected, Robinson lines up at the weekend against the Blues, he will face former Reds flanker Daniel Braid. Braid was signed by the Reds for the 2009 season as their marquee player, but travelled back over the Tasman to the Blues for the 2011 Super Rugby season. Much has been made of Braid facing his old side, but Robinson is used to facing quality opposition. "He's a quality player and so is his brother (Luke). You expect that in Super Rugby, there hasn't been a week this year where you don't come up against a quality seven."
The Reds received another boost this week with the news their attendances are up significantly on last year. The average attendance at the Suncorp Stadium has been 29,436, which is a 29% increase on 2010 and a 58% increase on 2009. The healthy figures were further highlighted when the Queensland franchise sold out their Suncorp Stadium for the round 15 clash with the Crusaders with their 48,301 attendance shattering the previous Australian Super Rugby crowd record of 42,237, set by the Reds in 2004 against the Waratahs.
"We challenged ourselves at the beginning of the season by setting high benchmarks in every facet of Queensland Rugby and I'm pleased to say we have surpassed all of our targets," Queensland Rugby CEO Jim Carmichael said. The Reds have fewer than 10,000 tickets left for sale as they bid to sell out the Suncorp Stadium ahead of Saturday's clash with the Blues. If this happens, the Reds' attendance will beat this season's highest crowd of 48,697, which witnessed the Bulls versus Sharks match on 18 June.
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