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England v Italy, Six Nations, March 10
Robshaw emerges from 'dark' place
ESPN Staff
March 4, 2013
England's Chris Robshaw celebrates at the full-time whistle, Ireland v England, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, February 10, 2013
Chris Robshaw boasts an impressive record of nine wins in 14 games as England captain © PA Photos
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England captain Chris Robshaw believes the intense scrutiny he was subjected to during a testing autumn campaign has made him a better leader.

Robshaw, whose side resume their quest for a Six Nations Grand Slam against Italy on Sunday, saw his decision-making questioned during defeats to Australia and South Africa back in November but has since spearheaded an impressive run of results including a 38-21 victory over world champions New Zealand.

"There's been good times, there's been tough times, there's been a lot of learning. The more you do something the more experience you get," Robshaw told PA Sport. "The autumn was my first time in that kind of dark, negative place. As an international captain you see it in other sports and you see managers under pressure and you don't really appreciate what it's like until you experience it yourself. It makes you a stronger person when you come out the other side. The players, in particular, were brilliant during the whole of that stage. A week is a long time in sport, never mind a couple of months."

Robshaw, who boasts an impressive record of nine wins in 14 games as England captain, is now a leading contender to skipper the British & Irish Lions this year and he is also pushing for domestic honours with Harlequins who remain in the running for both Premiership and Heineken Cup glory.

The 26-year-old has also revealed some novel methods employed at The Stoop to improve their leadership skills. "At the club as a leadership group they try and take you out of your comfort zone so that if an issue does come up you're calm and composed," he said. "About two years ago we did a stand-up comedy thing at Quins; this year we tried our hand at a little bit of acting.

"We had an acting teacher who came in and talked to us about body language and how to express yourself in certain ways. It's about doing something different that keeps your mind ticking over. He spoke about the skills you needed on a stage and how to get things across if people are making a lot of noise or if they're quiet and not responsive.

"At the time you're thinking: 'I look like a complete idiot'. Of course you don't always get it first time, you might make a fool of yourself trying to give it a go, but once you find out what works well for you can build on that and hopefully get a type of style."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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