Robinson calls for patience with England
March 3, 2009
Jason Robinson is excited about the prospect of working with the Sale squad © Getty Images
New Sale head coach Jason Robinson has called for England's fans to be patient and get behind their struggling national team, no matter how frustrating their recent lack of discipline might be. Robinson, a veteran of 51 England caps, admits that much of the criticism levelled at England is deserved but also that he believes encouragement and not punishment is the way forward.
"The best thing that we can do, even though it's frustrating, is to try and get behind the players," he said. "The more criticism they get - and some of it is certainly deserved - won't help matters."
Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care was the second player to be shown a yellow card during their defeat to Ireland last weekend, the tenth player in four matches, and Robinson believes that the experience will teach the young halfback a valuable lesson.
"Danny Care's ability is not in question, but at the same time, when you are under pressure you've got to think smart," he said. "I'm sure he will be kicking himself all week."
Robinson will take over at Sale following the departure of director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre, with former head coach Kingsley Jones moving into the vacated top position. He will join a Sale side rocked by the departure of several key players, with All Black Luke McAlister, Sebastien Chabal, Jason White, Lionel Faure and Sebastien Bruno all following Saint Andre out of the door at the end of the season.
Robinson is excited about the prospect of joining up with the squad however and will attempt to instil in them some of the belief that characterised his performances for club and country.
"As a player, I'm 5ft 8in and obviously one of the smallest players about," he said. "But I just had such a confidence in my ability and I was mentally strong. I knew that it didn't matter who was in front of me, I was going to beat them. I want the guys here at Sale to have that sort of confidence in themselves."
Robinson's religious beliefs have been well documented and he believes that they helped him arrive back at Edgeley Park, where he won the Guinness Premiership as a player in 2006.
"My faith played a massive part in me coming back here," he said. "It was important for me to make sure I'm doing the right thing. I pray about all the decisions I make but I knew God was leading me down an avenue that I said I would never go down. Before Kingsley asked me, in February, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do.
"I was doing some grassroots coaching but I knew I had to get my teeth into something. I said 'Lord, just show me, what is the right thing to do and where should I be?'
"I've had so many offers to come back and play but I knew that was the wrong avenue. When Kingsley came to me out of the blue, and told me a job was coming up after it was announced Philippe was leaving to go to France, and that he wanted me to be his right-hand man, I prayed with my wife. And I just knew that I had to get out there again."
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