Robinson recovers from 'devastation'

Cardiff 33 Connacht 17
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The Independent Online

Jamie Robinson put his bitter World Cup disappointment behind him by inspiring Cardiff Blues to their first victory of the Celtic League against bogey-side Connacht.

The young centre was arguably one of the unluckiest Welsh players not picked for the trip to Australia despite scoring in successive appearances against the All Blacks and the Wallabies.

He effectively missed out to new Cardiff team-mate Tom Shanklin but gave national coach Steve Hansen a glimpse of what he will be missing down under next month by scoring a stunning try and setting up another in the 33-17 win at the Arms Park.

"I knew I wasn't one of Steve's first choice centres as even though I played against Australia and New Zealand it was because others were injured. So I wasn't totally confident of going," Robinson said.

"But I think there is a perception that I am too laid back and relaxed about everything. That's just not true. I'm not an emotional guy but last week I was devastated after hearing the news. Dai Young [the Cardiff coach] told me to come into training with the region and it was the best thing I could have done. It has helped put the disappointment behind me."

Robinson certainly managed to leave his troubles and the Connacht defence behind him in a blistering first half that will no doubt have been noted by the Wales management. His deft pass sent through Nick Macleod for the game's opening try before he burst on to a pass from Dean Dewdney with an angled run of such power that he sliced through the defence.

Those two tries set the Blues on their way and Dewdney added a third after the break. Robinson's younger brother Nick, also omitted from the Wales squad, completed a happy day for the family, adding 18 points with his boot and continuing an apparent revival for domestic Welsh rugby.

During the first two years of the Celtic League, Welsh teams managed just six wins over Irish provinces. Cardiff's was the fourth in two weeks of regional rugby and their first over Connacht, supposedly the weaker of the four Irish provinces.

The Galway-based region, still with the persistent threat of being disbanded by the cash-strapped Irish Rugby Football Union, are honest competitors, in particular up front. But not even the boot of Eric Ellwood could relieve the constant pressure exerted by a home side out to impress.

Cardiff: Tries N Macleod, J Robinson, D Dewdney. Conversions N Robinson (3). Penalties N Robinson (4). Connacht: Tries C McPhillips (2), J O'Sullivan. Conversion E Elwood.

Cardiff: D van Vuuren; N Walne, J Robinson, N Macleod, D Dewdney (L Abdul, 74); N Robinson, A Moore; K Fourie, A Lewis (capt), B Evans, D McShane, A Moore (C Stamatakis, 74), R Appleyard, J Malpas, D Baugh (R Sowden-Taylor, 78).

Connacht: M McHugh; C McPhillips, D Yapp, T Allnutt (capt, D Hewitt, 55), W Munn; E Elwood, C Keane (C O'Loughlin, 63); W O'Kelly (F Boiroux, 60), B Jackman (J Fogarty, 72), A Clarke, D Browne, A Farley, M Swift, M Lacey (M Carroll, 63), J O'Sullivan.

Referee: Rob Dickson (Scotland).