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Trusted Robshaw deserved to keep captaincy says Lancaster

15 February 2012

  • Robshaw retains captaincy for the remainder of the Six Nations
  • “I trust him and he’s playing well” - Lancaster
England captain Chris Robshaw (L) and Interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster chat during a training session

Photo: Getty Images 

Interim England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has kept faith with his captain Chris Robshaw for the remaining three matches of the RBS 6 Nations and says it was down to his trust in the player.

Robshaw was given the nod to lead England ahead of the tournament despite previously winning just won cap but the 25-year-old impressed Lancaster in the two hard-fought away wins in Scotland and Italy.

As well as successfully handling the added responsibility, Lancaster said the Harlequins’ captain was the top tackler and ball carrier in both matches.

"From a playing point of view his performance hasn’t suffered [as a result of the responsibility of being captain]," Lancaster said.

"And his on-field leadership I think has been good. He has been supported well by a good group of players and I think he has managed the transition from club captain to international captain very well.

"I think my personal point of view from a coaching perspective I always look to have a close relationship with the captain so we are the same page; we can debate things about how training has gone, how the game has gone and we see things in a similar way."

Lancaster said he and Robshaw had a good relationship not just with each other but with the wider coaching and player leadership group with open discussions on match preparation, performance and training.

He added: "But ultimately it comes down to my relationship [with Robshaw] as well with him and I trust him and he’s playing well so he deserved to continue with doing the role without a doubt."

Fifteen players have been released back to their clubs from England’s training for this weekend’s Aviva Premiership fixtures. Ben Morgan will also be available to the Scarlets for their RaboDirect PRO 12 match against Leinster, while Tom Palmer has been training with Stade Francais for their Top 14 Orange game against Toulon.

Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi at an England training session

Photo: Getty Images 

But Lancaster said releasing the players did not mean that would not be selected for the Wales match at Twickenham on February 25.

"My personal point of view [is] I think players need to be battle-hardened and ready to play international football and the players that will be going back to the clubs will all still be in contention next week," he added.

"You can wrap players in cotton wool but equally I don’t think that is conducive to playing at the highest level and in international games such as Wales."

He said several players including Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes who joined up with the squad this week needed more game time after recovering from injuries while Joe Marler and Rob Webber had not played much rugby in the last fortnight.