Chris Robshaw named as England captain for autumn internationals
Tuesday 30 October 2012
Chris Robshaw has been confirmed as England captain for the QBE autumn Tests against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Robshaw captained England to second place in the RBS 6 Nations championship and on the summer tour to South Africa, although he missed the drawn third Test with a broken hand.
Dylan Hartley took over the reigns in Port Elizabeth but Robshaw was always the favourite to lead England into a challenging autumn campaign at Twickenham.
England coach Stuart Lancaster finalised his squad last Wednesday but delayed the captaincy announcement until the players arrived in camp at the Football Association's new St George's Park centre.
Lancaster said: "Chris has been outstanding on and off the field and we are delighted that he will captain the team for what will be an immense challenge in the QBE internationals.
"We have a strong leadership group in this squad and I know that Chris will be well supported by them in the weeks ahead.
"It was important to wait until after last weekend's Aviva Premiership matches to check on everyone's form and fitness and not interrupt the players' preparations.
"I have had the chance now to have a one-to-one catch-up with each player and we are really pleased to announce Chris as captain."
Robshaw has led England to five victories from his eight Test matches as captain, including Six Nations wins against France in Paris and Ireland at Twickenham.
"It's a real honour to be asked again. I enjoyed being captain in the Six Nations and in South Africa and this is a great group of players who really want to be successful," Robshaw said.
"We are lucky to have some good leaders in the squad who I know I can work well with and count on their support.
"We have a huge opportunity to put a marker down over the next few weeks and just from training this morning you can see how keen the boys are to play."
Hartley and Courtney Lawes, who both suffered knee injuries in Northampton's defeat to Saracens, have returned to their club to undergo further treatment.
Nine other squad members have been made available for Premiership duty this weekend.
Anthony Allen, Mike Brown, Phil Dowson, Ben Morgan, James Haskell, Jordan Turner-Hall and Ben Youngs were all released by England tonight.
Worcester prop Matt Mullan and Harlequins lock George Robson, who were initially called up as injury cover for Joe Marler and Lawes, will train with England tomorrow before returning to their clubs.
Lancaster insisted those who are in Premiership action this weekend are still in consideration for the Fiji game on November 10.
"Some return for further treatment from their club and others to get some game time to put a marker down for selection for when we meet again on Sunday after the weekend's games," Lancaster said.
"We will not finalise selection for the Fiji game until after training next Tuesday and so for those going back and playing this is a real opportunity to stake a claim with a really big performance."
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