Robshaw sweats on Johnson call
January 20, 2011
Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw (top) competes for the ball © Getty Images
The knee injury suffered by captain Lewis Moody has left England reeling ahead of the Six Nations but Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw is hoping one man's pain can be his gain as he eyes the now vacant flanker position.
Moody will miss the the first three games of the tournament and head coach Martin Johnson is expected to name a replacement on Monday. Robshaw is among the contenders along with Andy Saull, Tom Wood and Phil Dowson.
Robshaw, who is currently in the England Saxons squad, has impressed captaining Quins this season, with Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea likening the 24-year-old to World Cup-winning back-rower Richard Hill.
After earning such plaudits, Robshaw is reluctant to pile more pressure on himself but admits he is crossing his fingers that Johnson will choose him to replace Moody in the squad and challenge Hendre Fourie, Joe Worsley and James Haskell for a place in England's back row.
Robshaw said: "I'll have to wait and see if I'm picked as Lewis' replacement. It's a long time since I made my debut but I'm hoping that I will be able to squeeze myself in. If I did get in it would be a good opportunity. It will be a good test of the squad to prove that they are good enough to do well in New Zealand."
Robshaw's only full cap came against Argentina in 2008 although he did captain England in their unofficial game against the New Zealand Maori last year. He never lost faith in his ability though and admits being compared to Hill has been a big boost to his confidence.
"It's one of those things I fell out of form a bit," Robshaw said of not adding to his one England cap. "I missed an opportunity here and there, but it's all about consistency. You have to keep improving yourself with Quins and as long as I do that then fingers crossed I'll be able to move on to bigger and better things.
"It's always pretty flattering when I get compared to Richard Hill," he added. "It's a very nice compliment. He's a player who has got all the plaudits, the caps and the trophies.
"He is one of those amazing players out of the last generation like Lawrence Dallaglio. They were a special breed and to be associated with someone from that group is great for me. I still have a long way to go even before I get halfway to what he achieved though."
Should Robshaw be selected for the Six Nations, he is keen to make an impression to force his way into Johnson's thoughts ahead of this autumn's World Cup.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to go to the World Cup," said Robshaw. "Every player wants to play in the World Cup. Every Englishman wants to go to the World Cup to represent England and I'm no exception. All I can do is keep playing well and you never know what might happen in a few months time."
Quins' Nick Easter, who captained England during last autumn's victory over Samoa, is set to lead the team out for England's Six Nations clashes against Wales, France and Scotland. Robshaw is confident that his team-mate will do a good job in Moody's absence.
"Even when he has not captained England, you can tell from the way that he plays that he's a leader," Robshaw said. "He leads by example and has so much experience. He is one of the most experienced people in the England squad so if he gets selected then he will do a great job and do the country proud."
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