Robshaw: Focus is already on the World Cup


The England captain, Chris Robshaw, claims the World Cup is already at the back of his players' minds ahead of the autumn internationals. Stuart Lancaster's team host Fiji before the visit of the top three-ranked nations, Australia, South Africa and then New Zealand.

With their current ranking of fourth, England hold the last remaining seeding spot for the tournament they will be hosting in three years' time. The seedings are decided on 3 December, two days after the Test against the All Blacks, and with France breathing down their necks in fifth position, Harlequins flanker Robshaw knows his side must get results against the big boys.

"The World Cup is three years away but we are aware of the top-four seedings and all we can do as a team is go out and perform to the best of our ability and let everything else take care of itself," said Robshaw.

"It will influence the rankings and determine an easier or harder pool at the World Cup. We just need to win some games and prove ourselves against the best in the world.

"When you look at the teams and the names of the players in those four international teams, then it is very exciting.

"I have faced only one Southern Hemisphere side [South Africa] and learnt a huge amount from that series. It is exciting to take them on in our own backyard with 80,000 fans cheering for us. They will be massive occasions and we do want to make Twickenham a fortress – it's the goal – but you cannot flick a switch and make that happen."

Robshaw and his Harlequins team-mates travel to Leicester, who are missing captain Geordan Murphy with a knee injury, on Saturday for a rematch of last season's Premiership final. Quins have started the defence of their title in fine form and sit at the top of the table after three wins.

Robshaw, who has nine caps, has once again been at the heart of things, continuing the form which not only led Quins to a first Premiership success but saw him skipper England to second in the Six Nations and then a tour to South Africa over the summer.

The 26-year-old is expected to play a leading role for club and country in another hectic schedule this season. The chance of keeping his mind fresh may seem remote, but Robshaw feels the few weeks off he managed between the South Africa tour and the start of the domestic season have been sufficient enough to recharge his batteries.

"After the summer tour you get about four weeks off which means coming back into the pre-season later than other players at the club and you play catch-up," Robshaw said.

"Once the season gets going then every game is big and it's vital to be in form and fresh for the Heineken Cup matches and then the internationals. At Quins we believe we have a lot more to offer and, having got some of the early rust off, we now face Leicester at Road. Great teams win the title again and that is what we are hoping to achieve."