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Robshaw named England captain

Chris Robshaw pictured has led England well according to Stuart LancasterChris Robshaw will captain England during next month’s QBE Internationals, head coach Stuart Lancaster has announced.

Chris Robshaw, pictured, has led England well, according to Stuart Lancaster [PA]

The Harlequins openside will lead the team against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand after beating Tom Wood to a post he last held during this year’s RBS 6 Nations.

“Every time you pull on that white shirt it’s a privilege. It’s a huge honour to be named captain and to lead your country,” Robshaw said.

“But I’ve always said it’s not about who you are but what you do, and I’ve got to make sure that I perform as a player first.

“We have some good leaders across the squad and I know we will support each other as we head into a massive game against Australia.”

Robshaw, 27, has led England in 16 of Lancaster’s 19 games in charge, missing only the final Test against South Africa in June 2012 and both matches against Argentina during last summer’s tour.

Overlooked by the British and Irish Lions for Australia and rested for the trip to South America, the 17-times capped openside was given the summer off by Lancaster.

Wood took over the captaincy in Argentina and acquitted himself well, leading to a two-way duel for the role between the back rows.

Pressure on Robshaw’s place in the team was also applied by Gloucester openside Matt Kvesic on the strength of his performances against the Pumas.

But while Kvesic’s early season form dipped, partly affected by playing behind an underpowered pack at Kingsholm, Robshaw has impressed in a struggling Harlequins team.

“The first and foremost criteria for captaincy is to be on the team sheet and Chris is in there on his playing ability,” Lancaster said.

“But on top of that he has a massive amount of respect within the squad and has led England well.

“Every team needs leaders; we are building a strong group and Chris is at the forefront of that leadership.”

Robshaw was informed of Lancaster’s decision on Monday and the head coach insists he was the outstanding candidate to lead England this autumn.

“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 was the standout to captain the side.

“I was happy to let the season play out and for Chris to play well. Matt Kvesic played well at openside in the summer.

“It was important for Matt to know that he has an opportunity to play, but Chris has fought him off.”

Robshaw has spoken to Wood over the captaincy and has been assured he has the full support of the Northampton flanker.

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

“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, 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.

Lancaster revealed that Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero is “unlikely” to recover from his knee problem in time to face Australia on November 2.

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