Former England skipper Chris Robshaw has said he is ready to begin a new chapter in his international career as he prepares for the start of the 2016 RBS Six Nations.
The flanker was an automatic choice and captained the side throughout the Stuart Lancaster era, but he was relieved of his duties by new head coach Eddie Jones who selected Dylan Hartley as the man to lead England during the Six Nations.
The 29-year-old retained his place in the squad after some impressive performances at blind-side for his club side Harlequins. Earlier in the year Jones stated that Robshaw has all the qualities to be European rugby’s premier number six.
The Australian said, “I think he’ll feel a little bit unburdened and he’ll get out and play some good rugby. He’s been doing that for Harlequins and I think he’ll do that for England. I’m hopeful that by the end of the Six Nations, he’s the best number six in Europe.
“I think he’s done really well. He’s easily the best six in England. He’s got a high work-rate and reminds me of Richard Hill.”
Robshaw received heavy criticism for his leadership after England’s disastrous World Cup campaign, but he told Sky Sports he is ready for a fresh start, saying: “It’s a new chapter. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to go out there and right some wrongs.
Hopefully I can perform and repay that trust in me that Eddie has shown so far. It was difficult coming back from the World Cup but I need to go out there and hopefully achieve again.”
While he went on to talk about his support for new captain Hartley, “I fully understand the reasons for the captaincy change and respect Eddie for his choice and will support Dylan as well as possible.
“For me now it is about being part of the team, doing my bit for the team whatever that may be and supporting Dylan.”
England begin their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Murrayfield to face Scotland on Saturday 6th February.
Tuilagi could return in Six Nations
Manu Tuilagi could still play a part in the 2016 Six Nations according to Leicester Tigers head coach Richard Cockerill.
The giant centre returned from a 15-month absence in January, but suffered a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the Tigers clash with Gloucester.
But former England hooker Cockerill was quick to stress the injury was not serious, saying “His hamstring was a bit tight after the Stade Francais game last weekend. He had it scanned on Monday and there was the tiniest of strains there. It is nothing serious.”
He then went on to add “It depends on how England go up at Murrayfield against Scotland next weekend really. They might not need him.
“If they don’t get the result up there, then they might want him back sooner, rather than later. If he is playing and back fit, then it is up to Eddie. Manu’s groin is great. Now it is a case of keeping the rest of his body intact as well.”
Tuilagi could be fit to return for England’s two biggest fixtures of the 2016 RBS Six Nations. England v Ireland (Saturday 27th February) see’s Eddie Jones’s side welcome the defending champions to Twickenham. While England v Wales (Saturday 12th March) see’s the renewal of one of international sports biggest rivalries.
These two crucial Twickenham fixtures could decide the fate of the Six Nations title.