England head coach Stuart Lancaster reckons Chris Robshaw can use the hurt of missing out on the Lions tour to his benefit this year.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes Chris Robshaw can use the hurt of missing out on the British and Irish Lions to his benefit this season.
The 27-year-old, who has led England in 16 of the last 19 Tests since he was first made captain in the 2012 Six Nations, had been thought to be under pressure from fellow flanker Tom Wood for the role ahead of the Tests against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand in November.
However, Lancaster – who rested Robshaw from England's pre-season tour of Argentina – said having had a break from the sport, for all the disappointment of missing out on the Lions' 2-1 win in Australia, would have done him good.
“It obviously hurt him, but it happened at a time when he had an opportunity to get away from rugby,” Lancaster said after announcing Robshaw as his captain at a squad training camp in Leeds.
“To be able to get abroad, get some sun on his back, put things in perspective and reflect on what he had done over the last 12 months meant he quite rightly came back having moved on.
“He's had to fight to get in the England side and he knows it's not something he can take for granted.
“He's had disappointments in the past but he's always come back from them.”
Meanwhile Lancaster said he was looking to learn from the example of world champions New Zealand when it came to considering his leadership options come the 2015 RWC.
“Let's say it's the week before the World Cup, Chris breaks his leg and no-one else has captained England – it's quite a void to fill,” Lancaster said.
“I look at the Richie McCaw-Kieran Read situation with New Zealand – when McCaw is out, Read steps in.
“It wouldn't be too hard to stretch the imagination to see something similar with us.
“I've not made any assurances beyond the QBE (November) internationals and my mindset is to make sure some other players have experience of captaining the team.
“It might happen by default because of injury, form or fitness, or it might happen by design, but at the moment there is no need to do that,” Lancaster added.
But the coach said he had no qualms about giving the captaincy to Robshaw, rather than Wood who deputised for the Quins forward in Argentina.
“Chris has been in great form through the first half of this season and his experience as England captain meant it was a pretty easy decision,” Lancaster said.
“I'm delighted for Chris and I'm sure he'll do a great job. 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.”