Benn Robinson has loved rugby since he was seven years old and the hardest part about his decision to retire, announced on Tuesday, was that he didn’t really have a choice.
The 72-Test veteran spoke emotionally in front of media after news of his retirement sparked tributes from teammates and opponents alike.
Robinson was forced into retirement after the doctors told him he would never be able to play again after suffering an eye injury earlier this season.
It wasn’t easy for Robinson to come to terms with this turn of events, but ultimately the call was out of his hands, a painful twist after more than a decade of putting his body on the line on the field, and returning from countless injuries in the process.
“I’ve been coming to terms with it for the past four or five weeks trying to get my head around it.
“The hardest part is not doing something I’ve loved doing for so long, since I was eight years of age, and to hear it from a doctor that I can do it anymore is a tough pill to swallow.”
For all the battering his body has taken through his career, Robinson was able to see the ironic side of ending this way.
“I’m very fortunate and very lucky to have such a long career, I wasn’t expecting a poke in the eye to finish me,” he joked.
Waratahs club captain Dave Dennis said Robinson should be proud to have chalked up so many milestones in his career, but it would be hard not to be able to give his long-time teammate a proper farewell.
“Our greatest disappointment as a playing group is that he wasn’t able to end his career on his own terms,” he said.
“Someone that has committed so much of his time and life to the Waratahs and Australian Rugby it’s a great disappointment that he can’t end on his own terms, but in saying this he’s achieved a lot.”
“He retires as the most capped Waratah ever which is a huge achievement in our proud history as a club and obviously a number of times representing the Wallabies.
“I’m sure in time he’ll look back and reflect on that and be very proud of his achievements.”