Tuesday, 1 February 2011

MEMORIES by Dean Robinson

Dean Robinson is one of the greatest rugby players I've ever had the pleasure to play with and he wrote this about me:

We all relive our rugby careers fondly and while embellishment becomes commonplace in our recollection process, the undeniable fact that remains imprinted in my mind was the shear pace that Spyk brought to the rugby field. I have never played with or against anyone as fast.

He was a nightmare to defend as power and speed are incredibly difficult to plan for. When we played the Dallas Harlequins, we attempted to stop the ball as we knew we could not stop the man. This plan was only moderately successful and in all the years of playing, only once do I recall us defeating this fine team. However, after facing him for several years he joined our team and a different appreciation of his skill was recognized.

In the summer of 1984 the Dallas Rugby Club took a team to the “Sevens by the Sea” Rugby Tournament in Corpus Christi Texas. This tournament attracted the very best teams from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Our team was very skilled and we felt sure we had the fire power to compete with the very best.

It was obvious early our team had something the others did not. Speed. In one very competitive game the ball was worked to the left and Spyk was given the ball inside our 22. One quick swerve and he was free. The defenders realized too late that the cover was insufficient. As only Spyk would do, he waved to the closest defender to bid him farewell and streaked 80 metres to the tryline. It was only after he dotted down that he realized the rest of his teammates hadn’t moved an inch.

Sevens is an exhausting version of the game and we learned really quickly that trying to support Spyk was a waste of time. Obviously, as the poor bastard doing all the running, he would probably disagree.

His presence on the field allowed his teammates huge opportunities as defences were conditioned to stop him, while leaving others open. We went on to win the tournament handily.

In the 15’s version of the game I had the distinct pleasure of playing centre, with Spyk on the right wing. I remember asking him whether he wanted me to draw the defender or did he want the ball early. He frowned and said “just make sure I get it”. OK. Enough said.

It was the best season, as a player, I experienced in the United States. It was incredibly satisfying to have a finisher of that caliber at my disposal. He paralyzed defenders, he could beat them with speed and when it was required he could run right over them. God help you though if he didn’t get the ball enough. Spyk was no shrinking violet on the field, verbal, combative and lethal. He was a fierce competitor who wanted to win and losing was not part of his DNA.

If he had a failing it was on the practice field. Spyk thought practice was something others should do. He did however become a pretty handy goal kicker while the rest of us ran laps. Bastard.


  1. Thanks for sharing

  2. Dang, Spyk! You're a legend, man!

    I had the good fortune of having Deano as my coach when I was first really learning how to play back in college days. Dean basically gave us all our nicknames, and as I was the fastest he called me "Thrust" which I'm quite proud of. Even 20 years ago we heard about Spyk and the Dallas days.

    Wonder what ever happened to the big Kiwi, anyways. Haven't seen him in about 18 years.

    Best to YOU, Spyk! Your story is amazing.


  3. That was a wonderful tribute. I was actually searching for Dean. I am an old friend from the Dallas TX area. If you happen to contact him,could you please tell him to email me at stotten2011@gmail.com or contact me on facebook? It's been about a year since I talked to him. Thanks Sylvia Totten Chan


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