British & Irish Lions
Robinson on stand-by for Lions
Scrum.com
April 27, 2009
Cardiff Blues fly-half Nick Robinson celebrates victory over Toulouse, Cardiff Blues v Toulouse, Heineken Cup, Millennium Stadium, April 11, 2009
The Blues' Nicky Robinson celebrates his side's Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Toulouse © Associated Press
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Cardiff Blues fly-half Nicky Robinson has revealed he is on the stand-by list for this summer's British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

Robinson, capped 12 times by Wales, told BBC Wales Scrum V that he had been informed he was on the reserve list for the eagerly-awaited tour by Lions assistant coach Rob Howley. "It was a bit of a shock to see his name come up on my phone on Tuesday afternoon," said the 27-year-old. "It's great to be on that list. I'm just trying to finish off the season well and playing as well as I can."

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan opted for just two fly-halves in the 37-man squad for the 10-match tour of South Africa with Ireland's Ronan O'Gara and Wales' Stephen Jones set to vie for the No.10 jersey. But Robinson's form for the Heineken Cup semi-finalists and Anglo-Welsh Cup winners has elevated him to the fringes of the squad.

"I'm playing towards my best sort of rugby and I'm enjoying the rugby as well and that's a big thing for me," he said as his side prepare for their European showdown with Leicester Tigers in Cardiff this weekend.

Robinson has not appeared for Wales since the 45-27 defeat to Argentina in 2006 but is set to return to the international ranks for this summer's tour to North America with Jones on duty with the Lions.

"If I get to play in America and Canada, I will make the most of that," said Robinson, who will join Guinness Premiership side Gloucester in the summer. "If I get the chance to pull on that shirt, it would be awesome as I haven't done it for a few years. I'm still looking forward to finishing my season with the Blues and then obviously looking forward to next season with Gloucester."

McGeechan has revealed that a stand-by list, including 'two or three' options for each position, has been compiled but will not be published. Several of those names are lkely to be called into action such has been the injury-toll on recent tours. Another name linked with the list is Wasps' Danny Cipriani who has been tipped for a return to the international ranks this summer.

The talented fly-half was omitted from Martin Johnson's plans during this year's Six Nations but is tipped for a recall for the two-Test series with Argentina this summer.

"There are two or three players in every position ready and able to fly over if we pick up injuries. You can make your own mind up on whether Danny is one of those," McGeechan said recently.

"Most of those players will be on tour with their countries anyway which will give them opportunity to stay match-fit and totally ready for any potential call-up. It's important to have players very sharp coming into a Test series."

The Lions management team have already been forced into a re-think following a season-ending injury for Ireland and Munster scrum-half Tomas O'Leary. The in-form No.9 suffered a broken ankle in the Magners League victory over Scarlet on Friday just days after being named as one of three scrum-halves in the squad - alongside Wales' Mike Phillips and England's Harry Ellis.

Several names have been linked with a call-up including Scotland's Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter, Wales' Dwayne Peel and England's Danny Care but McGeechan insists he will not rush into a decision. "I'm obviously desperately disappointed for the player but we'll take our time and keep our eye on things," he said. "I'm not looking to name a replacement for 10 to 14 days. There's some rugby to watch and I'll take my time."

Scotland captain Blair pushed his claims by helping steer Edinburgh to victory over the Ospreys in their Magners League clash on Saturday. "I'm confident in my abilities as a player and it's up to the selectors," he said. "If they want me, then great news. If not, you keep on sticking in there and see what happens.

"In the last three or four weeks I have been happy with my form and I will just wait and see. It was frustrating for Scottish rugby to only have two guys in the squad. The selectors have got a type of player they are looking for. All we can do is keeping pushing our case."

Cusiter's potential involvement could be hampered by his commitments with Perpignan who have qualified for the Top 14 semi-final play-offs. The semi-finals do not take place until the weekend of 29/30 May with the final the week after - clashing with the Lions' opening tour matches.

Similarly, Care remains on domestic duty with Quins preparing for a Guinness Premiership semi-final clash with London Irish on May 9 but is very much on McGeechan's radar.

"Ian McGeechan was here a couple of weeks ago and I asked him who he was looking at. He said he had come to see Danny so he is obviously in their minds," said Quins boss Dean Richards at the weekend.

The Lions leave for South Africa on May 24 for a tour that will culminate with Test matches against the Springboks in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Wales take on Canada in Toronto on May 30 and the USA in Chicago on June 6 while England face Argentina at Old Trafford on June 6 and in Salta on June 13.

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