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Dan Robson: From Stoke to Slam

28 March 2011

  • England U20 Gram Slam winner Dan Robson in focus
  • I just want to keep pushing on and working hard – Robson
England U20 scrum half Dan Robson in action

Photo: Getty Images

At just 19, England U20 scrum half Dan Robson has already achieved a great deal in his fledgling rugby career. But according to those within the sport, there's more to come from the Stoke-on-Trent born youngster.

With an U20 6 Nations Grand Slam under his belt, as well as first team appearances for Gloucester this season, he has come a long way since his days at Newcastle-under-Lyme High School.

His Aviva Premiership debut for Gloucester came against Northampton Saints last month in a closely fought 18-16 victory for the Cherry & Whites. Robson put in an accomplished performance, impressing Head Coach Bryan Redpath, who said:

"Dan's someone I've got a huge amount of respect for, he's a talented young kid and he will push everyone at this club next season. He's moved from 10, only in the last 16 months, and I think he's played a bit of both over the years.

"He kicks, he passes and he's quick, and my message to him was play his own game when he gets on, don't worry about the score or the situation. He was very mature in slowing up possession at the right times, knowing what to do."

Dan Robson (centre) celebrates England U20s Grand Slam win in Ireland

Photo: Getty Images

Rugby is certainly in his blood, his father Simon was an England ‘B’ international and toured with the Test side in the 1980’s and Dan credits him as one of his greatest mentors.

“Dad played and we’ve got a long family history of being involved in the game so I was brought up with it really, it started at my local club and went on from there,” he said.

“He’s definitely been a big influence on me, he’s coached me at club and school level and given me great advice to go on and use at this level.”

Robson first began playing rugby aged just five for local club Stoke RUFC, and it was there and at High School, where his dad was the Head of Rugby, that his talent for the game flourished.

He was associated with Stoke for over ten years, winning a number of honours before moving on to play a season for Longton Rugby Club.

He then moved onto the distinguished Rugby Academy at Hartpury College, where life did not get off to a flying start.

England U20 scrum half Dan Robson in action with Gloucester

Photo: Getty Images

After his first year he found himself playing second and third tier rugby and it was not until a change in coaching staff that his full potential was noticed, and he was immediately made part of the Hartpury first team set up, along with current Gloucester and England U20 teammate Ryan Mills.

Gloucester made the move to sign Robson as a result of their partnership with the college, a move that came as a surprise to the Dan himself.

“It was unbelievable really,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it, especially after my first year with Hartpury, but after breaking into the first team there I’ve never looked back.”

Robson is comfortable in either of the half back positions, playing at scrum half for his country, fly half for college, and his debut for Gloucester was made at full back.

Though the player himself is prepared to play anywhere, he does have a preference: “Obviously I prefer scrum half, but I’m not too bothered, I’ll happily slot in anywhere on the field.”

Dan Robson in training with the England U20 squad

Photo: Getty Images

He made his debut for England U18’s in December 2009 against Australia and announced his arrival on the international scene with a try in the second minute against Italy in what was just his third appearance for his country, an experience that he describes as “Incredible.”

Success with Rob Hunter's England U20 side this season has followed and it would be easy for such a young man to get carried away, but Robson has his feet firmly on the ground:

“I know my strengths but you’ve always got to keep working, you have to work on the basics, they can always be improved on. I think were coming into a new era of scrum half’s, the position now is giving the team more of an attacking option and it helps my game develop, were encouraged to pass the ball and keep play moving”.

“I just want to keep pushing on, be part of the U20 setup, keep developing my game at Gloucester and just keep working hard and who knows where I’ll be in five years time."

You can follow Dan on Twitter @D_JRobson.