Saturday 3 December 2016

Danny Care says 'exceptional' Chris Robshaw keen to hold on to England captaincy

Published 06/12/2015 | 22:08

Danny Care insists Harlequins team-mate Chris Robshaw is intent on continuing as England skipper despite the criticism he has endured throughout his captaincy.

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Robshaw was due to meet new Red Rose head coach Eddie Jones to discuss his international future after Saturday's 38-7 Aviva Premiership rout of London Irish at Twickenham Stoop.

It is thought that Jones will want to stamp his authority on the team by appointing a new leader, while unflattering comments the Australian recently made about Robshaw's ability as an openside suggests the 29-year-old's grip on the number seven jersey is equally shaky.

England's recent World Cup disaster saw criticism of his captaincy reach its peak, but Care has witnessed a return to form at Harlequins.

"Of course Chris still wants to do the job. It's a huge honour to play for your country once, to captain it must be an unbelievable feeling," Care said.

"I'm sure he's dying to stay in the role and we'll have to see what Eddie wants to say and what stamp he wants to put on the team, but there aren't many others I'd pick ahead of Chris.

"It's nice that Eddie watched us when we played well and got the win - for Chris especially because all this stuff gets written about him.

"Chris was brilliant and it shows his character that he has taken all that stick but then puts in a performance like that. He was exceptional.

"He's had stick from day one when he was given the job. He has every man and his dog throwing his opinion, saying he shouldn't be captain.

"For me, he's a great England captain and it's tough to see him take the stick that he does.

"But he gets on with it, works hard and tries to prove people wrong. Hopefully he's doing that at the moment. He's bounced back brilliantly from the World Cup.

"He's been through some tough times but is the second most capped captain for England. He's done a great job."

Quins' England contingent - each of whom have been given the next fortnight off - met Jones by chance on Saturday morning when gathering at a Twickenham hotel as part of their preparations to face Irish. Jones was having talks with Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie at the same time.

"Obviously the boys were doing a bit of brown-nosing, going over to speak to him. I was playing it cool!" Care said.

"You know that you're in the shop window in every game and fortunately at Quins we are playing some good rugby.

"It's an exciting time. I hope a lot of the squad who were there for the World Cup will stick around because it was a fantastic squad.

"There are some quality players in there. I was down the pecking order a bit. Hopefully it wipes the slate clean. Let's hope he likes a running scrum-half!"

Meanwhile, Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has confirmed that he was approached by Italy as a potential replacement for Jacques Brunel, whose contract expires at the end of the season, but will be staying at Twickenham Stoop.

"It's flattering, but no, I'm not going anywhere. My job is here. It's really nice to be mentioned like that, a massive honour, but my job is here and I want to make sure we continue it," O'Shea said

"Italy have been on and talked to me, but that's natural. That happens in every walk of life, that people ask questions. It's very flattering, but my job is here, full stop."

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