Jason Robinson backs World Cup debutants Jamaica to inspire next generation

Drew Darbyshire
Jamaica Jason Robinson SWpix

Photos: SWpix

Jason Robinson says Jamaica must make the most of their opportunity of playing in their first-ever Rugby League World Cup.

The Reggae Warriors will make their debut at the Rugby League World Cup this autumn. They are in a group with New Zealand, Lebanon and Ireland.

Robinson, who was born in England to a Scottish mother and a Jamaican father, is operations director for the Jamaica national team heading into the tournament.

“There’s so many opportunities to do something,” Robinson told Super League’s Out Of Your League Podcast. “It is the world stage.

“You could score an amazing try, it could get you your next contract, you could be a guy coming from Jamaica who nobody has ever seen before, it could be the first time you’ve ever been over to the UK, let alone playing in a World Cup.

“There’s so many opportunities around the World Cup. It is the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cups so I’m massively excited for it.

“It has been put back a year but I know the organisers are working so hard to deliver the best ever World Cup. We are going to see the best players from all over the world.

“Jamaica is known for track and field and athletics. A lot of people in Jamaica don’t even know they have qualified for the Rugby League World Cup. But life is about opportunities and being the first and inspiring Jamaicans around the world and doing them proud.”

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Jason Robinson warns the Jamaica players

Although it might be Jamaica’s first-ever World Cup, dual-code legend Robinson wants his side to be competitive on the field as well as enjoying everything that comes with it.

“I had a conversation a couple of years ago with the team,” Robinson explained. “It is hard one to have because we’ve got players who are playing at all different levels.

“We’ve got players in Super League, players playing part-time in the Championship who are coming to training after a night shift.

“I suppose one of the hardest things for them is understanding what is coming. I’ve played in three World Cup finals so I know the situation from start to finish.

“Everybody wants to play in the big games but there’s a lot of people who are not prepared for them and don’t understand what’s coming. One of the things I was initially trying to say was ‘this is an amazing opportunity, but if you’re not prepared then this could be the worst time of your life’.

“As a player, there’s a given. I don’t care how much talent you’ve got but you’ve got to be fit. There’s a certain side to it that they have to deliver on and if they don’t, then they are going to get found out and it is going to be the worst place to be.”

The Jamaica team will be based in Leeds for the tournament. They kick off their World Cup campaign against Ireland at Headingley on October 16.

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