ENGLAND boss Martin Johnson has backed international rookie Chris Robshaw to excel as captain after choosing the Harlequins flanker to lead the side for the first time against the Australian Barbarians today.
Once-capped Robshaw, 23, is joined in a strong England side for the opening fixture of a five-match tour Down Under by Test regulars Lee Mears, Ugo Monye, Mathew Tait and Delon Armitage.
Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson will wear the No10 shirt in Perth, increasing the likelihood that Jonny Wilkinson will start the first Test against Australia on Saturday, while Matt Banahan and Richard Wigglesworth also feature.
“Chris has played well for Harlequins for the last three years. He got capped with us last year and it is nice to get him into a position of leadership,” said Johnson.
“Chris is a sensible, mature guy and a smart player. He played a Test for us last summer against Argentina and fully deserves to be here in a pretty competitive area for us in the back row. There are other guys with experience who will play their part in the leadership.”
TEAM | V AUSTRALIAN BARBARIANS
15 D Armitage; 14 M Banahan, 13 M Tait, 12 O Barkley, 11 U Monye; 10 C Hodgson, 9 R Wigglesworth; 1 D Flatman,
2 L Mears, 3 D Wilson, 4 D Attwood, 5 G Parling, 6 C Robshaw (capt), 7 H Fourie, 8 D Ward-Smith. Replacements: G Chuter, P Doran-Jones, C Lawes, J Worsley,
P Hodgson, S Geraghty, D Waldouck