Jason Robinson is coming out of retirement, having chosen to play for National League club Fylde next season. The England World Cup winner, who also played rugby league for club sides Hunslet and Wigan, hung up his boots during the 2007-08 season but has decided to resume his career with a team who finished ninth in National North Two last season.
It means a reunion with former England manager Brian Ashton, who returned to Fylde as a coaching consultant last month. Ashton said: "It is a remarkably fortunate coincidence to be returning to help out my old club Fylde as Jason arrives to play. I have had the privilege of working with Jason and know that his stature, ability and qualities as a player and a person will benefit all who come into contact with him."
Robinson, who is also expected to be involved in off-the-pitch activities, will be working again with Mark Nelson, Sale's backs coach in their Premiership-winning 2005-06 season. Nelson, now Fylde head coach, said: "I am delighted we have signed Jason for next season. Given his record in both codes, it's not an exaggeration to say he is the best ever rugby player.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for our players to play alongside such an experienced and mercurial talent and I expect a number of players will express an interest in joining the club to have a similar opportunity."
Robinson had spells with Bath and Sale and was a part of England's 2003 World Cup-winning team, appearing in more than 50 rugby union internationals for his country, as well as playing for the British and Irish Lions.
South African rugby has played downs reports of a rift in the team after the embattled Springboks suffered a third loss in succession over the weekend.
Peter de Villiers' side were comfortably beaten 30-13 by Australia and are now bottom of the Tri Nations without even a bonus point to show for their efforts.
The defeat for the defending champions in Brisbane followed back-to-back losses to New Zealand on the opening two weekends of competition.
It has left plenty of questions for the coach to answer ahead of their next game on 21 August and there is mounting speculation of a camp in disarray, something the South African Rugby Union has denied.Reuse content