England will not go on lockdown
September 19, 2012
England's Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw and Toby Flood pose in their new playing kit in one of the promitional images captured by renowned English photographer, David Bailey © Canterbury
England captain Chris Robshaw insists the country's leading players will not be "locked away" in a bid to avoid altercations like that which saw team-mate Chris Ashton attacked last weekend.
Ashton suffered minor injuries when glassed by a stranger in the wake of Saracens's Aviva Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers on Saturday but Robshaw insists such incidents should not trigger changes to what he considers the very fabric of the game.
Speaking at the launch of England's new kit, Robshaw said that being accessible to fans was a key part of the sport's appeal and that the positives far outweighed the impact of any unsavoury incident.
"We are out there in the spotlight and unfortunately you do get good things and bad things," Robshaw said. "Unfortunately, Chris was in an incident when he was out with his girlfriend and a couple of friends. We are more susceptible to these things so it's about finding the right balance.
"What people love about rugby is that they can still see you after a game having a drink with some mates, or going out for dinner. That's the beauty of the sport, that we are connected (with the public). As soon as you lose that touch and isolate the players, it wouldn't be great for the game.
"The amount of people who get pleasure from having the odd interaction with players from time to time, in the street or in a restaurant or in a pub, far outweighs the odd bad incident. I think that as rugby players we need to be seen and that's what people love about the sport. And players love that they can still go out and enjoy themselves.
"You don't want to be locked away at home and told you can't go out with your friends or your girlfriend, that you can't go to the theatre or wherever because someone might do something."
Robshaw admitted that head coach Stuart Lancaster would probably seek clarification on the incident as he continues to re-build the side's reputation following a Rugby World Cup campaign last year that was dogged by headline-grabbing off-field incidents. However, he is convinced that there will be no change in policy.
"We have to be sensible about managing that," Robshaw said. "I'm sure Stuart will look into it but it's all about doing it at the right time, in the right place."
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