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South Africa tour 2012 / News
English Rugby
Lancaster backs under-fire Robshaw
ESPN Staff
November 20, 2012
England's Chris Robshaw is shackled by Australia, England v Australia, Twickenham, England, November 17, 2012
Chris Robshaw found it hard going against Australia © PA Photos
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Stuart Lancaster has leant his backing to captain Chris Robshaw following England's defeat to Australia at the weekend.

Australia's Michael Hooper got the better of Robshaw on Saturday and was named man of the match. And although Robshaw topped the turnover charts on England's summer tour of South Africa, he is likely to come up against Francois Louw at the weekend, who was also named man of the match for his performance last weekend against Scotland.

Lancaster dismissed the idea of Robshaw being switched to the blindside, with Tom Wood likely to replace Tom Johnson in the six jersey. "Chris has been named captain for the series and I'm more than happy with his contribution on and off the field," Lancaster said. "I don't see that Chris' performance would warrant being dropped.

"There are not many in my opinion who play at seven in England in the same way as Michael Hooper or Richie McCaw do. It's quite hard to magic someone up to play in that way in our competition. There's a natural instinct players have to become sevens. I know because it's the position I used to play, though I was not quite big enough or tough enough for the highest level."

Worcester's Matt Kvesic is on Lancaster's radar along with Andy Saull, although his progress has been hampered by a lack of game-time for Saracens. And then there is Steffon Armitage, who was honoured last night as the best foreign player in the French Top 14. He fits the bill perfectly but is currently unavailable.

England have a policy of not selecting overseas-based players and Lancaster appears unconvinced that Armitage can cut it at the highest level. "I want our players to stay in England and play in England," Lancaster said. "At Toulon he plays behind a dominant pack and they have got world-class players in every position. They are beating everyone on the front foot.

"To play for 80 minutes, at the highest level in Test rugby, when you're not on the front foot and have to keep running around at high levels of intensity, you've got to be fit."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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