Robshaw issues rallying call
February 1, 2013
Chris Robshaw led England to victory in their Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland at Murrayfield last year © Getty Images
England captain Chris Robshaw has urged his side to rise to the challenge of this year's Six Nations - starting with victory over Scotland on Saturday.
Robshaw led England to a hard-fought 13-6 win at Murrayfield last year in his first game as skipper and steered them to a stunning victory over New Zealand in his most recent match in charge but is aware that those successes will count for little when the two sides rekindle the oldest international rivalry at Twickenham where the Scots have not won for 30 years.
"It is always a massive occasion. We spoke in the week about the honour of playing in the oldest international rugby fixture in history," Robshaw said. "You don't get many opportunities to play special games like that.
"Both sides will be fully aware of what the game means and the history and rivalry between the two countries. It is a completely new challenge to last year. We were a new coaching team, new players and no-one really knew what to expect from us.
"This is a new challenge. People expect different things from us and as players it is about rising to that challenge. I have a very talented and great group around me who enjoy going out there and playing rugby."
Assistant coach Graham Rowntree has also hailed the improvement witnessed over the last year but he too is taking nothing for granted against a Scotland side that slumped to a shock defeat to Tonga in their most recent clash and is currently languishing in 12th place in the IRB world rankings.
"There is nothing more daunting to me than a team coming here with nothing to lose," Rowntree told PA Sport. "They are always tight games given the competition between the two countries. I am on edge about the game. We have spoken a lot about recreating the intensity we showed against New Zealand. That has to be our benchmark going forward."
He added: ""I am pleased how the last year has gone but I want more. We have a settled coaching group, a core of players and a core leadership group. What has pleased me most is the players we have blooded in key positions.
"We have developed that over the past year. We have got a good culture and one of our bedrock statements is we have to be hard to beat. We will challenge teams in every area of the field. We have built on that but we are nowhere near where we can be. No-one knows that more than us.
"We did beat the world champions but we stripped that performance down: so many areas were good and so many areas we have got to improve on. We know where we are in terms of our group, our experience and what we have to get better at. That's what drives us on, that (quest for) perfection."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.