Kay backs Robshaw to skipper England
January 5, 2012
Chris Robshaw has shone for Harlequins this term © Getty Images
Harlequins, who have been in a rich vein of form this season having lost just two games, currently top the Aviva Premiership with their skipper Robshaw featuring prominently in their rise to the dizzying heights experienced under Conor O'Shea. World Cup winner Kay believes the back-row is the perfect man to lead the mass upheaval experienced under Lancaster. And Kay rubbishes suggestions that Robshaw's lack of international experience - with just one solitary cap to his name - is a hindrance.
"There may be some concern about making someone with limited international experience the skipper but Robshaw's form demands his selection and this is the perfect time to take that sort of gamble," Kay said in his ESPNscrum column. "England are starting from scratch and when you are having such a massive clear out you need someone to help you set the tone and Robshaw could be that man.
"Some may question whether he can handle the pressure but I wouldn't have a problem with him going straight into the team having missed out on the Rugby World Cup. The only question for me would be what position he would play. Tom Croft has got to get the nod at No.6 then it is a case of whether you for Tom Wood at openside and Robshaw at No.8 - or Robshaw at No.7 and someone else at the back of the scrum."
And elsewhere on the field, Kay would like to see Saracens' back Owen Farrell partnered with Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi in the middle of the field with Toby Flood holding the reins at fly-half.
"I would like to see him [Owen Farrell] thrown in at 12, where England have missed a ball player, with Toby Flood retaining the fly-half role," Kay said. "Ideally, like Jonny Wilkinson, Farrell would be able to find his Test match feet at inside centre but should Floody be ruled out by injury as it has been reported then I would have no worries about handing Farrell the playmaker role. He may be inexperienced but people will understand why you are doing it and be a little more forgiving if the results don't go your way.
"Brad Barritt is someone else who has been unlucky in recent years and deserves a chance but I hope Manu Tuilagi returns to fitness as I would like to see a Farrell-Tuilagi partnership in midfield, although it looks as though we may have to wait to see that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland