England v New Zealand, Twickenham, December 1
Robshaw vows to learn from 'tough days'
November 30, 2012
Can Chris Robshaw inspire his side to a rare victory over New Zealand on Saturday? © PA Photos
England captain Chris Robshaw is hoping to silence his doubters by inspiring his side to a rare victory over New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
Robshaw has been singled out for criticism in the wake of his side's recent defeats to Australia and South Africa with his game management coming under the spotlight after crucial decisions failed to pay off in both games. But the skipper is refusing to dwell on what could have been and is determined to use those painful experiences to his advantage as his side look to upset the all-conquering All Blacks.
"When you sign up for the job of England captain you know that days like this will come, when pressure is put on you," Robshaw said. "You know there will be good days and some tough days. Over the last couple of weeks, myself and the other players have learned a lot about international rugby. We have learned the hard way and unfortunately that happens in sport.
"But we have to take those lessons and look forward. We can't be dwelling on what happened the last couple of weeks. You can't sit around feeling sorry for yourself, you have to move forward every week and it starts again tomorrow."
The closing moments of last weekend's loss to the Springboks saw Robshaw instruct Owen Farrell to kick a penalty goal with two minutes remaining and England trailing 16-12, only for his fly-half to question his decision. Farrell eventually landed the kick but Robshaw's hope that his side would reclaim the ball and push for another three-pointer soon faded as the re-start was fumbled into touch.
"It's a tough one to sit back now and view it," Robshaw said. "You've always got to be clear in your thoughts I think, you've got to take into account all the ifs and buts and variations. Whatever you decide, then you have to hope that it comes off and wins you the game.
"Unfortunately it didn't win us the game, so it didn't work. First and foremost I need to go out and perform. As a captain you will be put under pressure in these situations, but the whole squad have been terrific and really supportive."
Looking ahead to the challenge facing England this weekend, he added: "People always say South Africa is the most physical challenge you ever play but it will be a step up tomorrow. And it will be very different. They are one of the smartest sides. We have to match that physicality at the breakdown but it is about moving our game forwards once again."
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