Is Robshaw next in line for England captaincy?

A leading bookmaker yesterday installed the Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw, who has yet to lose a game of rugby this season, as favourite to lead England in the Six Nations Championship after Christmas. This probably means he has no chance of landing the job – turf accountants know rather more about the 3.30 at Pontefract than they do about life at the bottom of a ruck – but events over the weekend certainly strengthened the flanker's hand as the time for decisions draws near.

Robshaw is one of three back-rowers widely assumed to be in the minds of the interim coaching team – an interesting assumption to be sure, given that the interim coaching team has yet to be appointed. Still, Robshaw started Round 10 of the Premiership programme in a good place and finished it in a better place still, thanks to contrasting misfortunes affecting his rivals.

Tom Croft, pretty much a fixture in the England side on the blind-side flank, missed Leicester's fiery derby with Northampton on Saturday and even though he is expected to recover from a knee injury in time to face Clermont Auvergne in this weekend's big Heineken Cup tie, he could have used an eye-catching performance against his fellow East Midlanders – not least because the third obvious challenger for the national captaincy, Tom Wood, was in the opposing line-up.

Albeit not for long: Wood was dismissed midway through the first quarter for throwing punches at sundry Leicester players during an old-fashioned outbreak of how's-your-father. Yesterday, he was duly cited for his role in the fight, as was his club-mate and fellow England player Chris Ashton, along with the Leicester wing Alesana Tuilagi. Ashton, who appeared to start the trouble by pulling the Samoan's hair, is charged with an act "contrary to good sportsmanship". For his part, Tuilagi is accused of contributing a bunch of fives. All will appear before a Rugby Football Union panel tonight.

Wood will certainly be included in the new Elite Player Squad, due to be named early next month, but if he is banned for the next couple of matches and loses ground to Robshaw, he may pay a heavy price. Robshaw has two high-profile games immediately ahead of him – Quins host Toulouse, the grandest and most successful club in Europe, in a mouthwatering European tie this Friday night and play the return leg on Sunday week – and then has a Christmas outing at Twickenham to help boost his profile. The Premiership leaders face Saracens there on 27 December.

Speaking of Saracens, the English champions' director of rugby Mark McCall confirmed yesterday that Peter Stringer, the veteran Irish scrum-half who forged a decade-long partnership with Ronan O'Gara at international level, had signed on loan from Munster. Capped 98 times, the tough little operator from Cork will spend the next three months at Vicarage Road and is likely to play a significant part in Sarries' challenge for a Heineken Cup knock-out place.

One further cross-border move has been mooted, which will be of some concern to Wales. The elongated Newport Gwent Dragons lock Luke Charteris is being linked with struggling French club Perpignan, a trail recently blazed by the goal-kicking back James Hook.

If rumours that Charteris – one of the stand-out forwards at the recent World Cup in New Zealand – has agreed a three-year deal with the Catalans turn out to be true, he will not be available for his country as often as Wales coach Warren Gatland would like.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London