2012 Six Nations
Kay backs Robshaw to skipper England
ESPNscrum Staff
January 5, 2012
Harlequins' Chris Robshaw celebrates his side's victory over Toulouse, Toulouse v Harlequins, Heineken Cup, Le Stadium, Toulouse, France, December 18, 2011
Chris Robshaw has shone for Harlequins this term © Getty Images

Former England lock Ben Kay has put forward Harlequins back-row Chris Robshaw as the ideal man to lead Stuart Lancaster's side into the 2012 Six Nations.

Harlequins, who have been in a rich vein of form this season having lost just two games, currently top the Aviva Premiership with their skipper Robshaw featuring prominently in their rise to the dizzying heights experienced under Conor O'Shea. World Cup winner Kay believes the back-row is the perfect man to lead the mass upheaval experienced under Lancaster. And Kay rubbishes suggestions that Robshaw's lack of international experience - with just one solitary cap to his name - is a hindrance.

"There may be some concern about making someone with limited international experience the skipper but Robshaw's form demands his selection and this is the perfect time to take that sort of gamble," Kay said in his ESPNscrum column. "England are starting from scratch and when you are having such a massive clear out you need someone to help you set the tone and Robshaw could be that man.

"Some may question whether he can handle the pressure but I wouldn't have a problem with him going straight into the team having missed out on the Rugby World Cup. The only question for me would be what position he would play. Tom Croft has got to get the nod at No.6 then it is a case of whether you for Tom Wood at openside and Robshaw at No.8 - or Robshaw at No.7 and someone else at the back of the scrum."

And elsewhere on the field, Kay would like to see Saracens' back Owen Farrell partnered with Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi in the middle of the field with Toby Flood holding the reins at fly-half.

"I would like to see him [Owen Farrell] thrown in at 12, where England have missed a ball player, with Toby Flood retaining the fly-half role," Kay said. "Ideally, like Jonny Wilkinson, Farrell would be able to find his Test match feet at inside centre but should Floody be ruled out by injury as it has been reported then I would have no worries about handing Farrell the playmaker role. He may be inexperienced but people will understand why you are doing it and be a little more forgiving if the results don't go your way.

"Brad Barritt is someone else who has been unlucky in recent years and deserves a chance but I hope Manu Tuilagi returns to fitness as I would like to see a Farrell-Tuilagi partnership in midfield, although it looks as though we may have to wait to see that."

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