Chris Robshaw admits missing out on selection for the Lions has been hard to swallow but that there is a bigger picture.
England skipper Chris Robshaw admits missing out on selection for the British and Irish Lions has been hard to swallow but that there is a bigger picture.
Robshaw had been touted as a potential leader of Warren Gatland's squad as they head Down Under but instead was not included in the travelling party at all.
Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree has spoken of how close the flanker was to selection, a point he emphasised to Robshaw but one that does nothing to ease the hurt of the snub.
“Of course it is tough,” said Robshaw.
“You think you are in with a good shout. I spoke to Graham Rowntree and he said I was close but that is not really a consolation is it?
“That is why the Lions is so special, it is so hard to be part of. You look at the competition in the back row, it is phenomenal the number of world class players.
“Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it. Graham was very honest with me. He didn't try and sugar-coat things. It is a setback but it is about how you react.”
For those England players not featuring with the Lions, a tour to Argentina awaits, but all indications are that England coach Stuart Lancaster will rest Robshaw. While the Quins man is eager to add to his 17 Test caps, he concedes that there could be merit in taking a break.
“When you look at first seasons, I always think a bit of adrenaline gets your through but the second season is the biggest challenge,” he said.
“From an England captain perspective it has been like that. There have been a lot of challenges thrown our way and it has been tough at times and it has been enjoyable at times.
“I am sure at some stage I will get a rest over the summer and I will embrace it with both arms and switch off from rugby.
“You always want to play for your country and to be captain is a huge honour.
“Sometimes you can get caught up in playing and it is easier for other people to see the bigger picture.
“That is why they are the bosses, because they have that long-term vision and they can see those things.
“I will listen to his (Lancaster's) point of view and I will respect that.”
The Lions and England tours may be just around the corner, but first on the agenda for Robshaw is a Aviva Premiership semi-final against Leicester on Saturday, and it is here that his focus lies.
“You have a little sulk but we are into a semi-final this weekend. It is about making sure we finish the season in the right way,” he asserted.