English Rugby
Robshaw profits from credit in the bank
Tom Hamilton
October 23, 2013
Chris Robshaw will captain England in the autumn series © PA Photos

Credit in the bank. A phrase often used by Stuart Lancaster and his credo. If someone has given their all for him, then he will keep the faith in them. Chris Robshaw personifies Lancaster's philosophy.

When looking at Robshaw's 16 matches as England captain, three standout. Firstly, the game against South Africa when he opted to take three points at the end of the Test when England were four points down. He thought they would have a better chance of snatching the win if they got within a drop-goal of winning the match. He was wrong.

But a week later, he reigned supreme over the All Blacks, outplayed Richie McCaw and all was good in the world.

Then came March 16, 2013; his last Test for England. Robshaw and his squad travelled to Wales with plenty of confidence. They were on the verge of a Grand Slam. But they were hammered, beaten into a pulp by Warren Gatland's side. The Kiwi's smile was a sharp contrast to the crestfallen Robshaw.

That loss still smarts for England; Andy Farrell spoke last week of his hurt at the result. Robshaw has not played for the team since. He was rested for their tour to Argentina and in his place Tom Wood captained the team to a series win against the Pumas. Not something to be sniffed at.

Claims Wood was poised to usurp Robshaw as captain were not because of leadership qualities so much as form - Robshaw's tailed off at the end of last season and he looked low on confidence. There was also the emergence of Matt Kvesic who shone in Argentina, he was the fetcher openside England have not seen since the days of Neil Back.

But fate and form have swung back in Robshaw's favour. Kvesic has been off-colour for Gloucester and they even trialled him at six. He was released by Lancaster for club duty this weekend paving the way for Robshaw to start at openside against Australia on November 2.

Despite Quins back-peddling at a rate of knots at the start of the season, Robshaw, alongside Mike Brown, has done well. There was a moment against Clermont on Sunday when the ball found itself isolated in between the two teams. What resulted was like two children squabbling over a loose sweet, but Robshaw got their first, secured it and Quins built again. The desire is still there, abundantly clear for all to see.

England have 23 games until the World Cup, the next two years will be focused on that. Robshaw is the captain for now, there are no guarantees he will be the starting openside in two years time. If he keeps on playing well though, then there will be no reason for Lancaster to drop him.

He answered his wrong call against South Africa with an inspired performance against New Zealand. The game on November 2 will give him, his team-mates and the coaches a chance to bury the memories of that loss to Wales.

Robshaw and his team-mates will hope to bounce back from their loss to Wales © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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