Wood backs me to lead England, insists Robshaw

Frank Dalleres
Follow Frank
ENGLAND flanker Chris Robshaw has dismissed talk of friction with fellow captaincy candidate Tom Wood, after the former’s reinstatement as skipper for the November internationals was confirmed yesterday.

Wood was tipped to begin the Stuart Lancaster era as captain, only to miss the start of the 2012 Six Nations through injury, and led England with distinction in Robshaw’s absence earlier this year in South America.

But Robshaw is to resume his role for the trio of Tests at Twickenham against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand and insists Northampton forward Wood is an ally rather than a rival.

“Tom’s been very supportive. We have a very good relationship in which we work hard and try to push each other,” said the Harlequins skipper.

“A lot has been made of the captaincy but everyone in the squad is out there to achieve the same goal. We’re a team that wants to win and be in the best possible position for 2015 [when England host the Rugby World Cup], whether it’s myself leading the team or one of the other guys.

“It really is a core group of leaders of 10 or 11 players that continues to drive this squad and push it. We’ve been together for 18 months now.”

Harlequins, champions less than 18 months ago, have endured a difficult start to the campaign, winning just two from five, but head coach Lancaster insists Robshaw has not been tainted.

“Chris has been in great form through the first half of this season and his experience as captain and experience with Harlequins meant it was a pretty easy decision to appoint him,” Lancaster said.

“I’m delighted for Chris and I’m sure he’ll do a great job for us. My priority has always been to decide on the captain on form and fitness.

“We want a broad leadership group but when it came down to it, Chris Robshaw was the standout to captain the side.”