Fresh off his first season of the Vodacom Super 14, Waratahs prop Benn Robinson is out to vindicate his surprise selection for Saturday’s game against the Springboks.
At 1.83m and 109kg, Robinson is one of the smallest looseheads in international rugby. Wallabies coach John Connolly has selected him for his ‘mongrel’ element, which the coach believes compensates for his physical inadequacies.
Robinson told the South African media that the Australians will be competitive in the tight-five this weekend, and that it was wrong to view this area of their game as a weakness.
“That’s definitely a misconception,” he said. “We definitely have some good strong scrummagers in Australia and some good young front-rowers coming through.
“The tight-five we have at the moment has inflicted damage on opponents, and while it is a matter of consistency we are definitely making steps forward with our scrummaging.”
Despite his young age (22) and lack of experience, Robinson has been given the opportunity to make his debut against one of the traditional leaders in international scrumming. Although Springbok prop BJ Botha may only have a couple of caps for his country and is roughly the same size as Robinson (1.83m, 110kg), he has more experience at both Super 14 and domestic level for the Sharks. Robinson is certain that he will be able to stand up to the 26-year-old tighthead at Ellis Park.
“While it has been a goal of mine to play Test rugby it was still a shock to get there at such a young age,” he said. “But I’m definitely not daunted by it. And I’m definitely not going to be on the back foot. It is a really exciting time for me.”