Robshaw ready to answer England's call
January 27, 2012
Chris Robshaw hands out orders to the forwards in training © Getty Images
Harlequins skipper Chris Robshaw insists he is ready to step up and take the England captaincy despite his lack of international experience.
The 25-year-old has emerged as one of the leading contenders to captain England in the Calcutta Cup showdown, particularly with Northampton flanker Tom Wood sidelined by a toe injury. Dylan Hartley and Tom Croft are the other realistic candidates from the new leadership group assembled by interim head coach Stuart Lancaster during England's training week in Leeds.
Lancaster, who has indicated he may share the honour around during the Six Nations to help foster that new leadership group, will announce his captain for the Scotland game on Monday. Robshaw was England's midweek captain on their Antipodean tour in 2010. He has developed into a respected leader at club level and been one of the outstanding Aviva Premiership players of the season.
"I feel I have definitely evolved and grown with experience," Robshaw said. "In my first couple of games I was probably a bit nervous and looked around at players who had been to World Cup finals or were 10 years older than me.
"It can be quite a daunting time for a young guy but it is all about doing it in the way you want to do it. Of course you have people trying to influence things, but at the end of the day, you have to make those hard decisions and it is about experience.
"You learn how to speak to the ref and you learn how to speak to certain players - whether a player needs to be shouted at or have a arm put around his shoulder. These things don't happen overnight but I feel I have grown into the role. I would relish the chance to captain the side at Murrayfield."
Robshaw was one of those who impressed most during England's pre-World Cup training camp but he failed to make the final 30-man squad. Johnson's decision to leave Robshaw at home was highlighted by one unnamed player in the leaked World Cup report as an example of the management's poor selection.
Robshaw admitted he did sulk briefly but the setback only served to strengthen his desire to add to the solitary cap he won against Argentina in 2009.
"I made my debut over two years ago and it has been a long time of waiting and trying to improve my game and hopefully trying to get there to where I want to be - playing international rugby," Robshaw said. "I have been in and around the squad and haven't really had that opportunity to go out and play but you have to be patient and the coaches were good at saying what I had to work on and how I needed to keep improving my game."
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