Chris Robshaw looks ahead to England’s World Cup challenge
England captain Chris Robshaw is feeling confident ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year
England lit up the Six Nations with their attacking flair and eye for the line and captain Chris Robshaw believes that is the final piece in their World Cup puzzle.
It was fourth time unlucky for Stuart Lancaster in this year’s Six Nations, as the Red Rose head coach guided his side to yet another second-place finish.
I can’t wait, it is very exciting. We are almost into camp now and once we are there it will be extremely intense and extremely challenging but it’s a place you want to be
The Championship will be remembered for its frantic and thrilling finale, as Twickenham witnessed a 90-point thriller between England and France only for the hosts to fall narrowly short of lifting the trophy.
It may not have represented the perfect World Cup preparation for Lancaster’s cohort but Robshaw is quietly confident England used the Championship to tick an important box.
With 18 tries across five matches England established themselves as the northern hemisphere’s most potent attack.
And with the days ticking down to a World Cup on home soil, the skipper is purring at the attacking options at his disposal.
“You look at the way our attack has taken shape in the last Six Nations campaign and I think that was the biggest thing we really had to add to our boat,” said Robshaw, who was speaking at Rosslyn Park Rugby Club to endorse the Lawson Keys National Rugby Awards, which will honour clubs, players, coaches, volunteers, mini sections, supporters and many more people that make rugby the fabulous game it is.
“I can’t wait, it is very exciting. We are almost into camp now and once we are there it will be extremely intense and extremely challenging but it’s a place you want to be.
“It is something we have been looking forward to for a long time and it has been spoken about for a long time.
“I think the beauty of it is having it in England and to feel that buzz around the whole country, whether it is games in Newcastle, Exeter or Brighton – and of course Twickenham being the hub of it. It is really going to hopefully take the country over.
“I’m really looking forward to it, when everyone is back fit as well. People say to be successful in the World Cup you have to have a squad.
“It’s not so much about the XV, it’s about the 30 there and – if injuries happen – the other guys coming in from the training squad who are really going to push on and excel.”
Among England’s attacking threats it was undoubtedly Jonathan Joseph who emerged from the Six Nations with the most augmented reputation.
With six international caps and no tries to his name at the turn of the year, Joseph crossed over against Wales and Scotland as well as grabbing a double against Italy.
The 23-year-old Bath centre now heads into the World Cup with control over the No.13 shirt – England golden boy Manu Tuilagi’s favoured position – and Robshaw admits that is no less than he deserves.
“He did well, didn’t he? He is a guy who has waited his chance and grabbed it with both hands,” added Robshaw, who is an ambassador for the Lawson Keys National Rugby Awards at Twickenham on September 2nd.
“He got capped in South Africa two or three years ago and it had been pretty quiet for him since then – until the Six Nations.
“He has been patient, he has come back to Bath, he has played extremely well and he has been rewarded – and re-paid everyone in spades.
“The performances he has put on have been tremendous and playing against him last weekend as well, he is a very difficult player to play against.
“He is definitely one of those guys you want in your side, rather than against you, and a good guy to have around.”
Meanwhile up front, Robshaw believes he is joined in the back row by another superstar in the making in the shape of 22-year-old Billy Vunipola.
The No.8 lost his place in the side to the impressive Ben Morgan during the autumn internationals but returned a new man after the New Year, playing every minute of the Six Nations and joining Joseph among the Player of the Championship nominees.
And Robshaw admits the Saracens powerhouse could have a big role to play in England’s World Cup bid.
“Billy was tremendous throughout the Six Nations,” he added. “He had a little bit of a dip in the QBE series but then he came back so strongly.
“I thought he was England’s best player. He was tremendous throughout the whole campaign and I’m pleased for him that he was given the faith to play 80 minutes as well.
“It was the first time he was given that and Billy has rewarded that faith and really excelled.”
Lawson keys is title sponsor of the 2015 National Rugby Awards – they believe the awards showcase the true spirit from the professional game down to the grass roots level – register your club or team member by visiting www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk – nominations will close on the 31 May 2015