Playing for your country is worth a spot of bother with the in-laws, at least according to England's new scrum-half, Luke Robinson , who will fly out to New Zealand for the Four Nations on Friday, after postponing the wedding that was supposed to take place on 25 October. The Huddersfield player claims that his fiancée, Laura Towler, has been remarkably understanding and has backed his decision.
"We've had a lot of heart-to-hearts," said Robinson. "But you can't turn down the opportunity to represent your country." He will also miss his stag trip to Las Vegas. "Then we've got 60 guests going to Cyprus for the wedding. It's just that I won't be there."
Robinson says that informing his prospective father-in-law of that was more intimidating than facing anything Australia or New Zealand might throw at him. He now plans to tie the knot as soon as possible after returning.
"That level of commitment is immense," said the England coach, Steve McNamara, who sounded out Robinson about his availability a week ago. "That's what he'll bring to the group."
McNamara sees him as an option at hooker, but injuries to Danny McGuire and Kyle Eastmond, plus the omission of Richie Myler, have created a possible vacancy for him at half-back.
Robinson is one of six players from the Giants, the most from any club and a tribute to how far they have come in a few years. They include Kevin Brown, his half-back partner at Wigan and Huddersfield, and Darrell Griffin, who first played rugby league for the Oxford Cavaliers.
The Grand Final winners, Wigan, have five representatives, including the uncapped winger, Darrell Goulding, and another player who is putting the tour ahead of family considerations.
Stuart Fielden has played himself back into contention after three years in the wilderness and will make the trip, even though his first child is due any day. "He's been through some dark days, but his form has been very consistent," said McNamara.
"I'm really pleased for Stuart. He lost form but he has fought his way back," said Adrian Morley, who will captain England. He takes over from Jamie Peacock, who has been ruled out with a knee injury. "It was a logical choice," said McNamara of Morley's appointment. "He is respected on both sides of the world."
There are only seven survivors from the unsuccessful World Cup campaign of two years ago. "I'm excited by the blend and the mix we've got," McNamara said.
The first test of that blend will be in a warm-up for the tournament against the New Zealand Maori in Auckland a week on Saturday. The first game of the Four Nations is against New Zealand in Wellington a week later.
Squad for four nations
R Atkins (Warrington), T Briscoe (Hull), K Brown (Huddersfield), T Clubb (Harlequins), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), D Goulding (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds), L Robinson (Huddersfield), S Tomkins (Wigan), M Shenton (Castleford), G Widdop (Melbourne).
S Burgess (South Sydney), E Crabtree (Huddersfield), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), S Fielden (Wigan), J Graham (St Helens), D Griffin (Huddersfield), B Harrison (Warrington), S Lunt (Huddersfield), A Morley (Warrington, capt), S O'Loughlin (Wigan), J Roby (St Helens), J Tomkins (Wigan), B Westwood (Warrington).Reuse content