Chris Robshaw named England captain

Chris Robshaw has been named as England’s captain for the QBE Internationals.

The Harlequins skipper has led his country in 16 of the last 19 Tests and today Head Coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed his appointment for the series against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand at Twickenham next month. He fought off strong competition from Tom Wood, who did the job so well in Argentina.

Lancaster said: “The first and foremost criteria for captaincy is to be on the team sheet and Chris is in there on his playing ability. But on top of that he has a massive amount of respect within the squad and has led England well. Every team needs leaders; we are building a strong group and Chris is at the forefront of that leadership.”

Chris Robshaw said: “Every time you pull on that white shirt it’s a privilege. It’s a huge honour to be named captain and to lead your country. But I’ve always said it’s not about who you are but what you do and I’ve got to make sure that I perform as a player first. We have some good leaders across the squad and I know we will support each other as we head into a massive game against Australia.”

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

14 thoughts on “Chris Robshaw named England captain

  1. Very surprised. Not massively unhappy, I would have gone Wood.

    I wonder what would have happened if Kvesic started the season on form? Oh well; irrelevant now.

    Let’s get behind Robshaw and the boys for the Autumn!

  2. Not a surprise as DT leaked the news this morning. Why can’t the RFU do something right for a change.

    Not completely unhappy. Robshaw Wood and Morgan/Vunipola isn’t a bad backrow unit. Work rate, tackling, handling, ball carrying mix.

  3. Not a surprise (regardless on the leak). Lancaster is loyal and Robshaw is the embodiment of Lancaster’s values.

    Although my preference is Wood I can’t say it’s a poor decision. Robshaw does seem to be covering the turf a little quicker this year, lack of pace was a legitimate criticism so good to see he’s worked on this. Sure he’s no Hooper or Tipuric, but still worthy of his place.

    1. Robshaw is a different player from Hooper, Tipuric and others and brings a different skill set. It’s up to SL to decide what combination of skills works best for his game plan. Still reckon Robshaw did well last year with 2 (?) MoM performances and deserves to keep his place.

  4. The right choice and fantastic news! Robshaw 100% deserves this after not having put a foot wrong during the Six Nations. No one is denying Tom Wood is a good player, but you don’t just shitcan your Captain of 2 years because someone like Wood might be considered currently in better form. Glad to see SL and co agreed!

    1. Can’t help but agree with you here. Our boys having to blood a new centre partnership and gel under a new captain might have backfired. I’d have given it to robbo. Let him go at it with the bit between his teeth. He missed the summer tests and the lions tour (by a whisker) he must be raring to go in the international stage. He seems to be a little more pacey this season. Not sure if it’s a result of the quins front five getting outgunned from time to time this season and him having to cover more ground quicker.
      Gutted wade got sent home. I think I’d take wades creativity over yardes defence.

      1. I’m not really sure why Wade would be a better option than Yarde at the moment. Sure, Wade has been creating try opportunities for people and he certainly isn’t playing badly, but Yarde’s work rate in all aspects is a bit better IMO, and he’s producing tries.

  5. I cannot help but think that sometimes, as followers/fans we do get too hung up with focussing on negatives and wanting change in the expectation that all will become suddenly better.

    I also see parallels between the captaincy issue and the Brown/Foden issue.

    Captaincy first; Robshaw is a good player, and he is playing well in an underperforming team (albeit underperforming at the highest level based on prior high performing standards). There is a belief by many, that if everyone was fit, and captaincy was not relevant – say for example, Chris Ashton was the captain – then Robshaw would not be in the team. This is not clear cut, and one could even argue the case that Wood would be the wrong choice as captain because he is injury prone and/or when Croft comes back he will have to play 7, and/or that Kvesic, Wallace, Fraser are all better 7’s than him and/or Morgan/Vunipola/Ewers/Waldrom better 8s/. I have a suspicion that if Wood were to be made captain, then the whispers about Robshaw being the better player/in better form would start start to surface.

    I recall these arguments around Carling (“Halliday, Guscott, de Glanville, Salmon, Sims etc, all better players”) and certainly Borthwick. It is only really Johnson, and possibly Dallaglio of a recent vintage than have avoided this label of “if he wasn’t captain …..”

    Tom Wood is a very good player, but he is not so good that he would be untouchable. So it’s an odd position, that the captain very often seems to suffer from accusations of not being good enough. I think that you have to be exceptional to avoid this, and these players do exist but probably not at present with England – or possibly any of the home unions (Tipuric, I suspect is considered a far better player because Warbuton is captain!).

    Full back is similar – is Foden really a better player, and in better form than Mike Brown? Brown has been excellent for Quins this season, and has been excellent for England. Yes I know he hasn’t scored when he has played on the wing BUT, is this really the mark of a good full back? Foden has also been excellent at Saints, and has always been good for England. To me, there is little to choose between the two of them, so Lancaster must be in the best position to choose, and I think that we have to trust what he and his coaching team see.

    Again, if he swapped them around I suspect that it would not hamper England, but I also suspect that Brown would become a better player in the eyes of many!

    By the way – Ashton as captain was very much tongue in cheek. If he was captain of course, the stock of Wade, Yarde, May, Biggs, Sharples, Ojo, Sackey, Monye, Tait, Simpson-Daniel, Varndell, Williams, Cueto, Daly and maybe even Banahan would rise massively.

    1. Really good points to be fair and I do agree – the grass always looks greener!

      It happened a couple seasons ago with Youngs/ Care. It appeared that whoever started got slated and the player that came on late in the came and picked the pace up a bit was better and should start the following week!

      Really good comments though that I completely agree with.

    2. A lot of really good points. Players do seem to get a lot better in the eyes of the fans when they are out of the team.

      My question mark over Robshaw is not so much to do with form or whether he deserves his place or not (he was favourite for lions captain on the back of his form for a lot of last year), it’s his decision making under pressure that I’m not yet convinced on. Hopefully he will be better for last year’s experience in this aspect. I’m pleased to see he’s gained a yard of pace as well.

      Brown is a consistent 6 or 7 out of 10 performer for England (I remember him having a very good game against the ABs, but other than that it’s just been solid). Foden in my opinion has proven himself a class above Brown at international level, his club form (and his cameos off the bench in Argentina) show he’s back towards the top of his game. Foden is the nearest thing we have to a world class fullback (1/2p, Kearney, Hogg, Folau, Huget, Dagg/Smith) and the only one we have that offers a potent counter attacking threat from the back. The big left boot of Brown is nice, the ‘2nd play maker’ of Goode is useful, but we need a lethal runner who can initiate attacks, provide for others and finish and I’m very surprised we are looking beyond Foden. Yes Brown has had too much time one the wing under Lancaster, but he’s still got 8 of his 18 caps at fullback, at the age of 28 with 18 caps I think you can say he’s had a fair chance and now it’s time to move on (though I’ll be delighted if he exposes me for the fool I am by running in a hat trick against the Aussies)

      1. Agree completely with Matt’s comments on Brown and Foden. Brown is decent and has never let England down but Foden can add something extra, and how many fans on this blog and elsewhere were criticising England for not having enough cutting edge in the 6N except in the Scotland game.

      2. Risking the wrath of Brighty (or possibly others), I would suggest that Halfpenny is not “World Class” as a Full-back!

        If you take away his kicking – which is undeniably World Class – I think he is a very good defender, and an average attacker (by International FB standards). I will risk further ire by further suggesting that Brown is a better attacker, as are all of those others noted above.

        Of course, in balance, the Welsh game is not based around an attacking 15, they have enough threat everywhere else, so perhaps his attacking instincts are not so obvious for Wales.

        I recall very well in the build up to the Lions tour, there were plenty of team suggestions from all corners, that either didn’t include Halfpenny, or included him on the wing, so that Kearney or even Hogg could be played at 15.

        1. Before the newly formed Anglo/Welsh bond goes up in flames …..

          Wales may not use 1/2p much as a counter attacking runner, but the Lions did. I thought he was sensational in that 3rd test and fully deserving of the tag of ‘world class’ before you even look at kicking.

          12 tries in 47 tests may not be Cullenesque but it’s hardly a shocker of a strike rate either.

          1. Matt, you’re quite right of course, and that is one game which may showcase his qualities, or may be his peak (as a runner). I do accept though that he is more “Cullen-esque” than the last FB from Wales that Kicked the Lions to victory.

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