- Chris Robshaw to captain England for 2013 RBS 6 Nations
- Harlequins man speaks exclusively to RFUtv about England captaincy
Chris Robshaw spoke of the obvious continued honour of leading his country but one is left with the impression that this time it means more than on the three other occasions he has been asked to do the job.
On the first day of the Leeds training camp, Head Coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed that the Harlequins skipper will lead his side for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, after taking the job this time last year and leading England through the summer tour to South Africa and last autumn's QBE Internationals.
Firstly, the 26-year-old led England to one the greatest victories Twickenham has ever seen – the 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand – a result which offered a glimpse at the lofty heights that could be achieved by this team.
Robshaw said: “It’s always an honour to captain your country and to hopefully kick on from what we achieved in the autumn is an opportunity to do something special.
“Everyone has a one-on-one with Stuart and you go through certain bits of your game and what you want to try and get out of the camp. He asked me then and of course you grab it with both hands.”
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And, secondly, Robshaw was personally touched by the way the squad rallied round him after his decision-making was placed under scrutiny after the narrow defeats to Australia and South Africa.
Referencing the number of players who said “we are fully behind you, it is our responsibility to turn whatever decision you make into to a good one”, he added: “It was brilliant, it really makes you appreciate the character of the guys you have around you and the whole squad of players. That’s the type of people they are and I think it showed in that New Zealand game because we went out there and played for each other.”
Robshaw also discussed the chain of command that operates in the England set-up, reinforcing the importance of the leadership group he has around him, which allows him to operate in the way he feels most effective.
A brief look at the stats shows that the Quins No.7 is a captain who leads by example, the responsibility seemingly bolstering his performances on the field.
Photo: Getty Images
For example his insatiable appetite for work was demonstrated by being top tackler (14), hitting the most rucks (41) and making the most carries (11) against South Africa, while being top carrier (12), second in ruck attendance (27) and second tackler (19) in the win over New Zealand.
He added: “People from the outside always assume it is coaches, captain, players but it’s not like that with England. A vital part of this team is that leadership group and Stuart’s been very open about that.
“There are many people that drive the standards in the squad and without them it would not be possible to operate because it’s not about one person, it’s about having a core group of players who drive it. Whether it is bossing the scrum, bossing the lineout, bossing the defence – you need those characters around you.
“Every time you go out there and perform you want to go out there and be better than you were last time. That’s always the aim, there is so much competition in the squad that you want to make sure, first and foremost, that you earn the shirt.”