Jake Robinson was the best of the best in senior men’s rugby this year.
The sensational scrumhalf for the fantastic firsts was awarded the Labatt Cup as the most valuable player in the Edmonton Rugby Union after receiving player of the year honours for the premier men’s team at the St. Albert Rugby Football Club.
“The St. Albert club has been the best club for so many years now, so to win the player of the year for the best club in the province means a fair bit but winning the ERU award is also a great honour to be recognized for your efforts in Northern Alberta rugby,” said a humbled Robinson.
The high school rugby product of the St. Albert Skyhawks is the fifth SARFC player in 10 years to has his name engraved on the ERU trophy
Previous winners were Rio Wells in 2007, Kyle Gilmour in 2009 and 2013, Brett Kelly in 2011 and Khaleb Whitehurst last year.
“When you look at the St. Albert names on that trophy, those guys are phenomenal players and to be included on that list is a pretty big honour,” Robinson said. “But I can’t really take all the credit for it. The team I played with this past year and in previous years had such a good group of guys and you just build off them.”
Robinson, 28, kicked off the Year of Jake at the 2016 America Rugby Championships with appearances for Team Canada against Brazil, 52-25 victory in Victoria, and Argentina, 54-21 loss in Rosario, Argentina.
Robinson’s confidence and skill set was at an all-time high when the Alberta Cup premier season started. His inspired performance as the team’s field general spearheaded the SARFC first 15 to their fourth consecutive Ken Ann Cup and the eighth in nine-straight appearances in the north final and in the provincial final the firsts knocked off the undefeated Calgary Hornets for their third championship in a row and the fourth since 2010 to finish the season at 12-2.
The longtime player for the Prairie Wolf Pack in the Canadian Rugby Championships also saw action for the Alberta Selects this year.
“Having such a great year with the club as well as having a good year with Wolf Pack and doing that Canada tour was pretty special for me. It marked a few achievements that I wanted to scratch off the bucket list,” Robinson said. “But to get this award and the club award too, I’m pretty happy to be recognized for the year I had.”
The scrumhalf in rugby is like the quarterback in football and Robinson was the Tom Brady equivalent for the firsts.
“The hardest part of being a scrumhalf I guess would be kind of organizing everyone. You also have to think two or three phases ahead as opposed to just playing the ball. It gets a bit tricky at times and sometimes you get distracted and make mistakes that way but playing for St. Albert the guys make my job a lot easier just understanding the game plan we want to play and being in the proper positions and knowing their roles really helps me out.”