Robshaw sets sights on Springboks


Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Chris Robshaw has demanded England react to a frustrating start to their QBE Series by registering a first victory over South Africa under head coach Stuart Lancaster.

New Zealand recorded a 24-21 victory at Twickenham to inflict a fourth successive defeat on the Red Rose, with a loss on Saturday equalling the nation’s worst sequence of results since 2006.

Next year’s home World Cup is looming and Robshaw knows England are under pressure to produce the type of result that will signal they are genuine contenders.

“The guys all know Twickenham is our place and with the World Cup coming up in a year’s time we need to deliver,” Robshaw said.

“We can’t wait for anyone, especially being at home. Whether it’s a tournament or a series, you want to start with a win.

“There’s probably nothing worse than starting a series with a loss, so there’s a huge amount of pressure on the guys to go out and deliver against South Africa.

“We’re not going to wait for the physicality and intensity which I’m sure South Africa will bring. Being at home we want to impose ourselves and get back on track.

“No one in the squad has beaten them so doing that would be a massive statement of intent that all the guys want to do.

“With South Africa we know roughly what is going to come our way. I’m sure there will be some adaptations but it’s about fronting up first and foremost.”

Robshaw’s captaincy was in its infancy the last time the rivals met in November 2012 and the 16-15 defeat remains one of the Harlequins openside’s career low points after his decision-making drew stinging criticism.

With just over a minute remaining, he instructed Owen Farrell to kick a penalty rather than opting for the line-out that would provide the platform from which to launch a match-winning attack.

Farrell landed the three points but England were unable to gather the restart and the match was over.

“That was definitely one of the toughest games for me – and there have been a couple unfortunately. But that created a backs-to-the-wall mentality,” Robshaw said.

The captain’s decision-making was against under the spotlight against the All Blacks when England ate up precious minutes opting for a scrum rather than taking a quick-tap penalty.

They were awarded a penalty try when New Zealand’s set piece collapsed, but again there was no time left to produce the attack that could seize a late victory.

“We were 10 points down. We spoke about it as a team quickly. It was the first time we’d been in their 22 for a long time,” Robshaw said.

“We thought we’d chance our arm and that we might then get the ball back around the half way line and get a penalty. Then you back one of your kickers to have a go and get quite close. That was the thinking.

“In terms of scrum or lineout, it takes a bit of extra time to dry the ball for a lineout and I spoke to the front row who were keen to scrum. When your front row is raring to go you tend to give them what they want. And they delivered.

“I don’t know how many teams have got a penalty try in recent times against New Zealand so that was a huge positive for us and our forward pack.”

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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