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England great Jason Robinson named Sale Sharks boss - OTD

By PA
Jason Robinson /Getty Images

On this day in 2009, Jason Robinson was appointed head coach of Premiership club Sale.

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The former England back spent seven years as a player with the Sharks, captaining them to the Premiership title in 2006, before hanging up his boots after the 2007 World Cup final.

Prior to that, Robinson played nine years of rugby league before switching codes in 2000, where he played a key role in England’s 2003 World Cup victory.

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The former Great Britain rugby league international joined Sale on a two-year deal and the club announced he would work beneath director of rugby Kingsley Jones, who described Robinson as a “proven 100 per cent winner”.

“It’s fantastic news for the club that Jason has agreed to join the coaching staff,” Jones said.

“It’s no coincidence that the three years that Jason was captain was the most successful in the club’s history.

“Jason has been a professional since the age of 16 and everything he has done in both codes he has been successful at.

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“He is renowned for his enthusiasm and drive and is a proven 100 per cent winner.

“He also has great mentoring skills which will prove invaluable in his work with the senior and academy players at the club.”

Robinson spent just over a year in the role as head coach before he was replaced by ex-New Zealand All Blacks forward Mike Brewer.

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Poorfour 11 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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