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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Thursday, May 6th 2021

Lee Robinson: the derby destroyer

Lee Robinson’s first instinct was always to run hard, and this time was no different.

With 73 minutes on the clock and Bristol trailing by four, the Premiership debutant sensed his moment had arrived. What followed would etch his name into the city’s rugby folklore.

“It all happened pretty quickly, but I just felt this massive urgency to get my hands on the ball,” said the 40-year-old, recalling the final moments of a famous Bristol win in the West Country derby.

“I came into midfield and put in a huge call to Chippy (Jason Strange) to get the ball to me. There was a bit of space out there and a few Bath forwards malingering, and I just thought: ‘I need to have a run at these.’ There wasn’t much time left, but I went for it and the rest is history.

“The noise was amazing, and I hadn’t realised how many players I’d had to get through to score until I looked back. It was an amazing sound and atmosphere. The Memorial Ground wasn’t the biggest, but when it was at capacity, the noise was incredible and the support we had when we were in the Premiership that time was amazing.”

Iconic moments like Robinson’s 2005 showstopper are often few and far between in a player’s career, but this wouldn’t be the last time that Bristol’s powerhouse wing would land the killer blow in the match that means more in the south west. In fact, he’d repeat the feat less than 18 months later.

This time, the play was slightly less ‘off the cuff’ but the result was the same: Robinson ran hard and didn’t stop until he’d crossed the whitewash. Bristol would hold on for a famous win at The Rec and the man signed from Plymouth Albion just a season earlier was fast becoming his side’s ‘derby destroyer.’

“David Hill had some good plays that he liked to run, and he always took the ball really tight and flat to the line – and he came up to me and said: ‘right, we’re going to play this,’” Robinson recollects.

“I don’t think we’d particularly done it in training much, but he took the ball right to the line and put me over the gain line and I just ran as hard as I could into the space and got through. I had Matt Perry to beat at the back but got over for the try. David Hill did all of the work; I just executed it. It felt pretty special.

“If you consider that we were only back in the Premiership the season before – and it’s one thing to do it at home, but to repeat it away certainly made our intentions clear and made other teams looks out for Bristol, as new contenders.”

Robinson will never tire of these moments, but is now relishing the chance to watch the latest crop of Bristol players create their own history under the leadership of Pat Lam.

“I watch a lot of Premiership Rugby and it makes me immensely proud to look at the Bristol team now – not only back in the Premiership but sitting at the top. I think the team at the moment, and the facilities, the coach, the players – it’s an incredible setup now.”

Life after rugby has seen Robinson swap shifting defenders for shifting furniture. His removals business Leicester Movers and Storers, is becoming increasingly popular and expanding at a rate of knots, with more vehicles and an ever-growing team. Founded in 2015, Robinson’s business assists people looking to move house or office, to or from Leicester and across the UK.

“(Life after rugby) has been interesting. You’re certainly in a bubble when you play professional sport, so when you come out to the real world, it takes a bit of adjusting,” he said.

“I’m living in Leicester now – when I signed for Tigers, I stayed up here and set my business up when I finished playing and it’s going great. It’s really grown, and working in this removals company and managing teams, you still get some of craic you might have got from rugby, and every job is a challenge like every game is a challenge, and it’s great fun.”

Careers in professional sport are fleeting, especially in rugby, but memories remain. The roar of the Blackthorn End, the urge to get on the ball, the backs move you hadn’t practised. Lee Robinson’s first instinct was always to run hard, and didn’t it serve him well?

Leicester Movers & Storers are a house removals company based in Leicester, operating across Leicestershire and the UK, run by Lee Robinson – ex-professional rugby player.

We match the right staff to your removal requirements to achieve only successful property moves!

You can rest assured that their fully insured, trained and qualified team will look after your home move, regardless of whether you’re relocating from Leicester to London or Leeds to Rutland.


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