Ed Robinson followed in his father Andy’s footsteps by becoming England rugby coach
“I’m a designer at heart,” says new England manager Ed Robinson sitting in the Jersey Reds clubhouse, looking out onto the main pitch near St Peter’s airport, talking about his life away from rugby.
“Before coaching, I studied ergonomics. I was doing everything, like designing microwave ovens for people with dementia, so when you put the food in it, it just scans the package, you don’t have to press any buttons; he just knows what to do.
“It has been a great base for my training. The design process, the way you come up with ideas, translates directly into your coaching. Be resourceful.
Ed Robinson looks to make a good impression as England’s attacking coach this summer
Ed (right) followed his father Andy (left) to become an English rugby coach
“The most important thing is to understand how to work with people and paint pictures in people’s heads.
“I also looked at how cars are built to interact with people and did a thesis at Loughborough University on the thermal environment in stadiums and how humans react to it.
“It was the relationship between play, heart rate and temperature. Obviously, when there are strong trials, the heart rates go up and we respond better to them.
“But when the game gets a little stale, people get pretty cold.”
If there had been any authorized supporters at England’s Six Nations games, then Twickenham would have been mostly filled with frozen fans.
After their fifth place in this tournament, Robinson’s next mission is to design something beautiful – or at least a lot more functional – from the England attack, now Eddie Jones has brought the coach back from Jersey. in the national team for summer testing against the United States and Canada after first using him in February and March.
Son of former England boss Andy who was Sir Clive Woodward’s number 2 at the 2003 World Cup, Ed Robinson is Jones’ latest draft.
At just 28, he’s younger than most of the normal senior squad, but he’s up for big things. He doesn’t mind his youth at all, having packed a lot in his few years.
“If you’re ready, you’re ready,” says Robinson Sportsmail, a sharpness behind his calm voice.
Eddie Jones brought Robinson back to the fold for England’s summer practice matches
“I was coaching five teams a week to earn enough money to pay rent – including Clifton College, Clifton RFC, Filton, Bristol University – in my early twenties. I coached teenagers, internationals like Samoan Alfie To’oala who was in his thirties.
“The game is the same whether it’s 40 kids running around a half court with one spotlight or getting the guys ready to play against France at the Six Nations.
“Obviously things get more intense at the top and there is a little more pressure, things are a little faster, but in terms of my coaching development these years are invaluable.
“It was never a problem for me, my age. It’s just building relationships with people.
His with Jones came from a chance encounter in the Channel Islands before Covid.
“Eddie came to give a talk here and we spent an hour with him,” says Robinson.
“I chose his brain and from there we chatted on and off. When we went into containment, we spoke every week on Zoom.
“I went to see him in the Six Nations 2020 camp before the Wales test for a day too. In January I came for a day of training in Jersey and saw that I had a message at 6.30am saying “call me”.
“So that was it – I called him, I got on the plane the next day and I was right in the Six Nations camp in England.”
Robinson was the shock replacement for Jason Ryles, the Australian skills coach stuck at home due to Covid, and worked to improve Max Malins’ kicks, Anthony Watson’s high ball catching technique and Jonny May and more during the championship.
“It wasn’t something entirely new, but it was still intimidating,” said Robinson, who trained in England as a child with his father, and watched Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal in World Cup in 2003 while fighting his brother in the Sydney stands. .
Although at only 28 years old, Robinson believes that “if you are ready, you are ready” and is confident in his abilities.
“I was the young boy from Pennyhill Park circling around with a ball. Richard Hill told me I used to wake him up by kicking a ball near his bedroom window!
Robinson therefore felt the pain of England’s recent struggles as much as anyone – but learned to face criticism after his father was sacked by the RFU in 2006.
“The results really stung,” he says.
“Regarding the criticism, I went through it with dad, seeing how he was treated. To see what he put in England, what he did for England and how he was treated in the end, it’s really water on a duck’s back.
“But also, if the team is not performing, that’s what should happen. Everyone should be frustrated when England don’t win. No one was more frustrated than us.
When Robinson returns to the mainland soon this weekend, 12 English Lions will swap places with him to train in Jersey – where Plémont Beach his best advice for a dive – ahead of the South Africa tour.
The young team he will find gathered at Lensbury will have new minds to shape for him and his boss.
Robinson and Jones agree on at least one mantra – that life experience and setbacks make better players.
Robinson himself has been struggling to forge a new career since a concussion ended his playing days at 19.
Robinson lamented Andy’s treatment as England’s head coach, but said he was not fazed by the criticism
Next playing for Loughborough, he took two separate hits to the head in different games against Nottingham Trent a month apart around Christmas.
“I took time off, I followed the protocols, I went back to preseason and it just wasn’t right,” he explains.
“I did a sprint and was sick so I never really got to go back to it. I got closer again and had a few more symptoms so that’s it.
“Now I still have symptoms related to light, exercise, and loud music. “
Robinson has moved on from there now, however, philosophically and feeling stronger with every experience of his short career – good or bad.
“Concussion doesn’t define who I am or what I do, it’s just a part of my life,” he concludes.
“I think if I played tomorrow I would be 100 times better than at the end of it. Everyone has times in their life that they have to overcome.
Better for his past, Robinson is poised for a future of great design involving England.