"Horse" celebrating every little win for Wallaroos and women's rugby

Womens International
by Sarah Friend

Emily "Horse" Robinson has carved out a reputation as one of the toughest front rowers in Australian women's rugby and the sport couldn't ask for a better ambassador..

The prop, who debuted for the Wallaroos in 2016 and was a key part of their 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup campaign, has quickly become one of the more recognisable personalities in the side.

A 200-game player for Warringah and a NSW development officer, Robinson is a passionate advocate for the development of rugby in all its forms.

So to be a part of the inaugural Super W competition and indeed the first match in its history when NSW took on QLD at Suncorp Stadium meant as much to Robinson as anyone else.

“The whole Super W was an amazing experience and being part of the first one from training last November to winning it this year, it was pretty awesome to be a part of,” she said..

“It was good to have a big rivalry first up. There were plenty of nerves.

“It definitely meant a lot to some of the girls and running onto the field for the first time playing at Suncorp, one of the biggest rugby stadiums country, it was a pretty amazing feeling. To get the first win ever, it was history making.”



Robinson played a pivotal part in NSW's undefeated run to the final but the epic decider didn't quite go to plan when a poke in the eye forced her off the ground with 23 minutes left, though she didn't know it would be such a long wait at the time.

“It was very-nerve racking. I came off about 65-70 minutes into the game poked in the eye and couldn’t see so I was on the bench watching the last 23 minutes,” she said.

“I’ll never forget when she (Ash Hewson) kicked that goal, there was just joy and excitement of achieving our goal as a team.”

That historic moment could only be equalled by the Wallaroos' historic Test on home soil when they took on the Black Ferns in Sydney and many of the players played in front of family and friends for the very first time in national colours.

"It was amazing to play in front of Australia and to see their support behind us, and personally my family and friends. Even my nephews got to see me play,” she said.

“I think it (Super W) really upped the ante and it definitely helped the Wallaroos going forward.

“There was definitely a few of fresh new faces in there but it’s the same culture and everyone’s there for one reason that we love rugby. Super W was huge.

“You got to see players like Shanice Parker or Atasi Lafai who tore it up and could really unleash their skills that they had.

“It was an awesome campaign this year and I think we saw the depth of women’s rugby. A lot of girls making their debuts so it’s only up from here.”

While the Wallaroos lost both of their trans-Tasman Tests, the steps they took towards the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup were the most significant elements to take out of the year.

“We’re starting a new World Cup cycle so the next big goal for the Wallaroos is the 2021 World Cup so Dwyane (coach Dwayne Nestor) kind of laid down the law about our goals and how we’re going to get there,” she said.

“I think that we did have little wins along the way. In a week it was pretty obvious that we learnt a lot about New Zealand and we managed to shut some of those areas down in the second Test.

“It was exciting to see the future and what we can hopefully achieve as a country.

“As a group it lit the fire more knowing that we can get there and we can compete with the best in the world and we are on the way to doing that."

This year is expected to hold a bigger women's calendar for the Wallaroos with coach Dawyne Nestor hoping for up to five Tests and Robinson said an expanded schedule was the only way they could be assured of improvement after years of patchy Test match-ups.

“It’s pretty obvious in those Two tests what we could do. I think it’s hard playing New Zealand consistently, they won the World Cup," she said.

“It’s hard to only play them. You need to be able to play other teams. When it gets to the World Cup and we’re playing teams that we haven’t played before it’s pretty hard to change your game or whatever it may be.

“I definitely think more Tests and a variety of Tests moving forward is the way to go."

The Wallaroos have their two Bledisloe double headers locked in, including a sell-out in Perth on August 10.