Saturday 24 February 2018

Pain of watching Ireland win title will inspire us, says Chris Robshaw

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

VIRAL hits don't tend to linger long in the public memory, but they can sting for the people involved.

On the day after Ireland claimed the Six Nations title in Paris, photos began to circulate around the internet of the England squad, dressed in their tuxedos and ready to celebrate, watching the gripping final moments from their hotel in Rome.

The Irish online community revelled in their despair, while the newspapers gleefully followed up and ran the pictures the next day.

Time moves on and the snaps have faded, but the English team still remember.

Chris Robshaw looks on during the England training session
Chris Robshaw looks on during the England training session

"The worst bit about that was seeing something like that happen then be photographed during it and it being put across every paper - the two extremes of the two camps," Chris Robshaw recalled.

Tough

"It was tough to take. Of course we wanted France to win which would have made us win (the title). It's never nice when it's out of your hands.

"You want to control it and be able to influence it. When you're sat there thousands of miles apart, you're pretty helpless.

"We all had a beer together after and said 'we've got to continue learning from this. We are getting better but it's one thing getting better, you've got to be picking up that silverware."

Loved by coaches and questioned by pundits, Robshaw is the man Stuart Lancaster has placed trust in for this World Cup year.

The Harlequins man has skippered his country 33 times since 2012, winning 20 of those games; he finished second in each of his three Six Nations, with the Championship just beyond his grasp.

England have re-branded under Lancaster, who has placed values high on his agenda, but the public demand silverware and a performance at this year's home World Cup is a must.

It is hard to see them succeeding on the global stage without ending their wait for a European title and Robshaw (above) says the memory of watching Ireland claim the title on points difference last year will fuel their efforts.

"Potentially; I think more that you're playing one of the best sides in the world. Whatever it takes you need to get yourself ready to play. I don't think guys need much motivation for this game," he said.

"It's going to be built up, it's going to be exciting - two great teams going at it.

Nervy

"It's going to be nervy, it's going to be tense, there's going to be times when we can barely hear the guy two metres away because the crowd's going to be pretty erratic and noisy and momentum's going to be going against us.

"That's when we've got to hear our experience as a team. How do we get that back? How do we turn it and get ourselves back on the front foot?"

It feels like there is a harder edge to England this season - their stand-off in the Millennium Stadium tunnel before their win over Wales was a case in point.

"I feel more experienced," Robshaw said. "We've all grown together, supported each other in the right way but we've also challenged each other. We want to get the best out of each other because we all want to see this team really succeed."

Irish Independent

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