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Dave Robinson first represented Southland rugby in 1899 and played his last game for the province in 1908. He was a member of the combined Otago-Southland side which played Bedell-Sievwright's British team in Dunedin in 1904. He had a total of 15 games for Southland 1899,1902-1904, 1906,1908.
It was in 1946 at the time of Pirate's diamond jubilee in Invercargill that he was asked "Do present-day players compare favourably with those of our playing days and before?
He admitted it was hard to make a comparison and said you see good clever forwards now which are not the type that played in the late 1800 and early 1900s.
He was of the opinion that these players were better tacklers and kickers with the point tally's telling the story of how players had changed.
He produced a photo of the Pirate's 1904 side which won the Invercargill competition. They played eight games, won five and drew three.
Total number of points for were 24 and twelve against.
He said that in the early part of the century, players had very little else to do except train and this is why he believed they were fitter and stronger. Talking in 1946 he said the young men had pictures to go to every night of the week. He also stated that rep team games were few and far between and thought that in the modern day young men would get sick of playing club rugby and representative all season.
In the old days there was no specialised training and when Billy Stead was captain of the representative team he would say to you "you are the hooker" and if you did not know your game you would not be in the team.
He said the young men treated rugby as a religion and kept fit by running everywhere, there were no cars or bikes.
He went on to say that they never had the privilege of running around handling the ball under powerful lights but they kept themselves in peak condition by running to work and back home.
He gave an example where one of his club mates, Ned Hughes, who played for the Britannia Club missed the train to Winton, so he walked with his wife, from Invercargill which showed the keeness and commitment by the players and their families.
He went on to say this could have been something to do with Ned Hughes being selected in the New Zealand team.
More often than not the long trips to Riverton and Orepuki saw the dray getting stuck on the rough roads, so players had to get out and walk. Dave remembered those days proudly and said they would walk nearly half way there, play their game of football, go to the dance and then set out on the long drive home with several enforced tramps on the way.
He had played, coached and watched many Pirate's players over the younger years and said that Jerry Burgess was one of the finest half backs he had seen. Burgess ended up playing 28 games for Southland between 1902-1907.
Clarrie St George was another great half back, and N.P. McGregor who played for Pirates in 1922 was also in the all-conquering All Back side. Paul McQuarrie he remebered fondly was known as well for his football as his activities in the world of fistics. V. Jervis in Dave Robinson's opinion was one of the best wing forwards of all time; Phil Jacobs, a New Zealand three-quarters early in the century; Charlie Diack, Southland and New Zealand University representative; Herbie Rodgers, who for his size was one of the finest players either as a centre or full back.
He remembered Alex McRobie and Vic Ekensteen both grand forwards, Jules Tapper (five eight), Henry Hall another outstanding wing three-quarter, Ted Glennie, another All Black who could fill any position in the backs without any weakening effect on the strongest team. Bill Langbein, Nichol McDonald, young Bill Hazlett who toured South Africa with the 1928 All Blacks as a five eight.
Bert McEwan was a very fit player who was useful in any position and Charlie Saxton - a great little half. Tom Metcalfe, Les Cockroft, Bill Johnson and Tommy Roberts, all forwards.
Ron Ward, Sam Batcheler, Ronny Bird, Bill Matheson, Bert Geddes (New Zealand representative), Ray Pickering, Ross Sharp, Mick Falconer, H. Anthony, T. Lock and T. Lennie were all players he remembers warmly.
He said of the Pirate's 1946 team that there was a "young Bennett" who showed great promise and there was plenty of football ahead of him. This of course was Norman Bennett who ended up playing 32 games for Southland between 1944-1950 and was also an All Black.
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