Robshaw focused fully on Quins
September 2, 2013
Quins captain Chris Robshaw is under pressure to retain his place in England's plans for the autumn © Getty Images
Chris Robshaw has distanced himself from the debate surrounding his international future by declaring 'it's all about Harlequins at the moment'.
Robshaw was rested for England's summer tour of South America and saw rising star and rival Matt Kvesic further his claims for the No.7 shirt while fellow flanker Tom Wood took on the captaincy and steered his side to a first-ever clean sweep in Argentina.
Robshaw has since welcomed the battle for his England place and fresh from committing his long-term future to Quins he is determined to underline his credentials - beginning with the Premiership side's season-opener against London Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday.
"Every season you want to be a better player and playing in a better team than you were last season," Robshaw told the Independent on Sunday. "Everyone wants to be in that starting XV for England. [But] there's eight club games to play before England meet up and you've got to make sure you're playing well and you're fit. It's all about Harlequins at the moment. We've got five massive Premiership games from which we want to take momentum into Europe."
Robshaw is also wary of the challenge facing him at Quins where academy graduates such as England U20 No.8 Jack Clifford are pushing for more exposure. "You always have to look over your shoulder for new guys but that's what's great for the squad, it makes you a better player. If you start to coast you potentially get a bit lazy," said Robshaw.
Quins saw their reign as Premiership champions ended by eventual winners Leicester in last season's play-offs when Robshaw admitted his side were simply not good enough. But he is adamant they have learnt their lessons from that campaign.
"I think it's always very competitive," said Robshaw, "and what people like about our league is anyone can beat anyone on their day. No one expected Northampton to win at Saracens in the semi-finals last season. The better teams know how to grind it out when they don't play well. We fell short and it's about learning from what we did.
"There are days when the sun's shining and you can play free-flowing rugby but there are some wet and miserable days, when you put the ball up your jumper and just kick your goals. I think you've got to make sure you're in the top four, and not just at the end. You want to be the ones chasing the leaders, which will be Leicester, I'm sure, being the champions."
Speaking to The Observer, he added: "I hope we will be better than last season," Robshaw says. "What we set out to be was consistent and we have established ourselves as a top-four side. We have not lost too many players and we have some excellent youngsters coming through. It becomes tougher every year in the Premiership and as a tournament it is definitely more exciting now. I am fit and raring to go and the summer rest has benefited me without doubt.
"I am glad that Stuart and Conor O'Shea [the Harlequins director of rugby] persuaded me that it was for the best. It is all about looking forward now and this is, without doubt, an exciting period in English rugby."
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