Chris Robshaw insists there is no going back
December 3, 2012
England captain Chris Robshaw embraces assistant coach Graham Rowntree following their historic victory over New Zealand at Twickenham © PA Photos
England captain Chris Robshaw celebrated his side's historic 38-21 victory over New Zealand by insisting there is more to come from his headline-grabbing side.
Robshaw spearheaded a sensational England showing at Twickenham on Saturday that saw the hosts end the All Blacks' 20-game unbeaten run in some style. Tries from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton, and Manu Tuilagi along with an assured display from fly-half Owen Farrell proved the difference and set a new standard for Stuart Lancaster's side - a fact that his skipper was quick to reinforce.
"Beating New Zealand may have been the best day of my rugby career so far, but I believe there is so much more to come from this young England side," Robshaw wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "I told the players as much at the end of the game on the pitch at Twickenham on Saturday. I gathered the squad together and told them: "This is our standard now. There is no going back. We must push on from this."
Robshaw revealed that his squad enjoyed one of English rugby's greatest days but soon re-focused on the next challenge. "It was a very special day for English rugby, with the England Women's team completing a remarkable 3-0 series win over the Black Ferns at Twickenham after our victory. But yesterday we held a team meeting to set our targets again for when we meet up next month to begin preparations for the Six Nations Championship.
"Stuart Lancaster has been very open about where we want to be in the 2015 World Cup. The key now is that we don't stand still. We have to keep improving if we are going to be serious contenders as the host nation."
That desire was echoed by Lancaster, who has no intention of resting on his side's laurels. "It was less than 11 months ago we changed the direction of travel for England rugby, to build a team for the future but also wanting to win in the here and now," he said. "Sometimes it takes a win to show that and the most pleasing thing is it has given a clear view of the direction we are going.
"We have got to make sure we back up now. As a coaching team we're far too pragmatic (to allow anyone to think we are the finished article) - and I'm far too Cumbrian to allow that to happen. I'm already thinking how we're going to plan for the pre-Six Nations camp in Leeds and how we're going to maintain this standard. We've got to make sure we hit that level in Six Nations."
Robshaw also described how his side were inspired by a moving shirt presentation ahead of the game that helped set the tone for the amazing performance that followed. "Even before kick-off I knew the boys were in a special place," he wrote. "The previous evening we had a hugely emotional team meeting when the shirts were presented to us by George Hickinson, along with senior fitness adviser Calvin Morriss and team doctor Mike Bundy.
"George is a friend of Stuart's from Leeds who was in the Forces. He has terminal cancer and he spoke about the privilege of being able to hand the shirts to the players and what it means to soldiers around the world. It was hugely inspirational. Calvin and Mike made moving speeches. They have been with the Rugby Football Union for 10 and eight years respectively but this was their last game involved with the team.
"Calvin just said: "I know you can do it." By the time we heard the Twickenham crowd singing "Swing Low" during the haka, everyone was so pumped that the key message was to keep our focus. If we followed our game plan, we knew we had a chance."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup