Features | 27 Oct 2022

Jason Robinson OBE: Vodafone Business ambassador and rugby legend

Jason will be covering the Rugby League World Cup 2021, for which Vodafone Business is the official Technology Partner.

We caught up with Jason Robinson to find out more about his inspiring rugby career and how he’s working with Vodafone to support grassroots clubs, small businesses, and the biggest, most inclusive rugby league tournament ever.

The making of a rugby legend

Jason has had a glittering rugby career, playing in over 550 games, competing in three World Cup finals, including winning the 2003 World Cup in Australia, three British & Irish Lions Tours, as well as Six Nations Grand Slams. He also became the first black captain of England.

Jason Robinson scoring a try for England

Nicknamed ‘Billy Whizz’ because of his speed, acceleration and agility were Jason’s hallmarks. His natural talent led to a highly successful career in both codes of the sport – league and union – at club and international level.

Rugby gave me a focus and taught me discipline

It was an inspirational teacher who spotted Jason’s talent and wanted to help him achieve his potential.

“I had a lot of stuff to deal with growing up, so rugby gave me a focus and taught me discipline. I owe a lot to that teacher. Sport kept me out of trouble and gave me confidence,” Jason tells Vodafone UK News.

His life experiences have made him determined to be a positive role model for others and to campaign for more diverse representation in sport and business, particularly at board level, he says.

From rugby to business 

After retiring at 33 (he’s 48 now), Jason relished spending more time with his family and starting his own ventures, including JR Sports Stars, a sporting achievement programme which he delivers to Primary School children to get them moving and motivate them to be the best they can be.

“I felt a calling to go into schools and inspire kids as best I could, to help them try new things, build their confidence, and get them into good habits,” he says.

He wants to encourage children of all ages, sizes and backgrounds to engage in multi-sports activities, with the aim of nurturing their personal and collective development.

I’m passionate about young people and their development

Related to this, Jason is a partner of PE Pro, an app packed full of expert advice for schoolteachers on how to deliver good-quality PE lessons across a range of sports. He also sits on a taskforce lobbying government to put more resources into sport and PE in schools.

“I’m passionate about young people and their development,” he says. “Children need to be excited about doing exercise.”

Jason also established a business development consultancy to bring the lessons he learned from sport into the business world.

“Sport is so good for teaching teamwork, self-discipline, and other valuable life skills,” he says.

Vodafone Business Ambassador

“I like to align myself with brands that share my values and I want to work with the best,” he says.

Vodafone Business announces Jason Robinson as new ambassador

The partnership will help provide support to grassroots rugby in the UK.

“I love Vodafone’s work supporting grassroots rugby, and as a business owner myself, I like the way it supports small companies, whether that’s with connectivity, technology products, or through its V-Hub advisory service.

“It’s great to work with such a strong and influential brand.”

Sport and tech

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in sport, both on and off the pitch, he says, whether helping coaches monitor player performance, or giving fans a much more interactive experience.

“I really like some of the innovations Vodafone has made in this area,” says Jason. “Fans can get a much better understanding of the work players put in, the miles they run, and soon, thanks to haptic suits, they may be able to feel the impact of the tackles the players have to face.”

Jason is the International Ambassador for RLWC 2021, the biggest and most inclusive rugby tournament.

“It’s brilliant to see the scale of the event and how it incorporates the men’s and women’s game and wheelchair rugby,” he says.

“I’m so excited to be involved and urge everyone to attend the games if they can or follow the tournament.”

Stay up-to-date with the very latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and signing up for News Centre website notifications.