Exclusive: One-cap Robshaw to lead England into Six Nations
Harlequins back-rower will be least experienced red-rose captain since Nigel Melville in 1984
England will gamble on their most inexperienced captain in 27 years when the interim head coach, Stuart Lancaster, hands the Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw the job for the Six Nations' Championship opener in Scotland on 4 February.
Lancaster's official position is that he will decide his skipper at the end of this week, after a new-look squad's first training camp near Leeds. But the 25-year-old Robshaw was decided on in the last few days, after the leading contender, Tom Wood of Northampton, suffered a toe injury that needs at least a month's rest.
Robshaw has been Quins' captain for two seasons but he had a tough final audition on Friday night, refusing points in favour of a scrum during a shock 9-8 Heineken Cup defeat away to Connacht. He led an England XV against Australian Barbarians in Perth in June 2010, however, he has played only one Test, in Argentina in 2009, making him the least capped England captain since the Wasps scrum-half Nigel Melville made his Test debut against Australia in November 1984. Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Bill Beaumont were into double figures in caps before being captain.
Only injury or a change of heart by Lancaster will prevent Robshaw leading England out at Murrayfield, where they have failed to win in three visits since 2004. Robshaw may also have to cope with playing in an unfamiliar position, No 8.
As the 12th captain from Quins, he follows Will Carling, whose record 59 Tests as England skipper began in his eighth international.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga