GREG Robinson’s loyalty to Buckfastleigh Ramblers saw him take the field for the 400th time on Saturday – but he believes it is probably more!

However, near neighbours and fierce rivals Totnes spoiled the occasion, running out 19-12 winners, writes John Balment.

‘The 400 total is since the club began keeping records, but I played some games before that,’ said Robinson.

The New Zealander joined the Ramblers in 1999 having arrived in the town on a two-year visa.

Admitting he had played rugby since he was three – ‘that’s all you do out there’ – he was a scrum-half for Tekawau, in Manwatu Province, near Palmerston North.

Robinson was a young dairy farmer, and his brother Robbie came across to Buckfastleigh in 1995 working for Celtic Rock Services Ltd, and joining the rugby club for whom he played at hooker.

‘I left New Zealand with a couple of mates and we went around Europe and did a bit of forestry work before I joined Robbie at Celtic Rock,’ he said.

While his brother played on and off for Ramblers for four years and later returned to his homeland, Robinson remained with the company where he works on drilling rigs and piling, and has been loyal to Ramblers throughout.

‘I met someone over here and got married and now have a 16-year-old daughter and five-year-old son,’ he added.

A very talented player why did he never move?

‘I have always been made to feel welcome here. It is family-orientated, which I like. The club is solid,’ he replied.

In the 17 years he has played for Ramblers he estimates he has scored more than 250 tries.

At the age of 38 he no longer plays scrum-half and now appears at either full-back, fly-half or centre, and admits he still enjoys every minute.