Wales rugby union winger Harry Robinson.
Wales rugby union winger Harry Robinson. Getty Images

Loves balls, not spoons

EXCITING young Welsh winger Harry Robinson rarely drops the ball.

It seems the same cannot be said when it comes to carrying a prized team possession ... a love spoon.

Love spoons are said to represent the 'heart and soul' of Wales. They have been carved by men and given to women from as far back as the 17th Century.

The one on the team's tour of Australia depicts a dagger and includes Welsh national symbols such as a harp, dragon, daffodil and the Prince of Wales' feathers.

The idea to take one on tour was first introduced by former coach Steve Hansen in 2003 (now in charge of the All Blacks), the responsibility of looking after the two-foot long piece of wood given to the youngest member of the touring party.

Robinson got the gig this time and the 19-year-old, who scored a try on his debut against the Barbarians in Cardiff earlier this month, didn't make the best of starts.

"I dropped it on the first day I had it," he laughed. "One of the rings broke off so it was a terrible start, but it hasn't left my sight since. It's always locked away in my room, in the safe.

"George (North) said it was stolen from him at the World Cup last year and it went missing it for three days. He said to keep your eyes glued on it. I didn't want to ask how much he was fined, just in case."

Before Robinson was named in the squad, he had been due to play for the Welsh under-20 team in the IRB Junior World Championship underway in South Africa.

Had he gone there, he would have been part of a famous victory.

The Welsh beat New Zealand's Baby Blacks, a team who had never lost a match in the four-year history of the tournament.

"I watched that game and I was a little bit gutted I wasn't there because I wanted to celebrate with the boys," he said. "I welled up seeing them all celebrating together. I've been with most of them for four or five years now - it was amazing to see."

Robinson is all too aware of the challenge ahead of him if he is to break into the Test team, with fellow youngsters Alex Cuthbert (22) and George North (20) both in impressive form.

"I've got my work cut out trying to get that jersey," he said. "It's a really competitive position."



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