Robshaw Wants to be Tested

England captain Chris Robshaw
©Press Association

England captain Chris Robshaw would prefer to be battle hardened by European competition than rested heading into the 2015 World Cup.

Last-ditch attempts to rescue next season's Heineken Cup are under way with the Aviva Premiership seeking to establish an Anglo-Welsh league as an alternative.

That prospect means England could enter a World Cup they are hosting without their internationals having appeared in a competition that bridges the gap between club and Test rugby.

It has been argued that the potential nine empty weekends could actually work in the nation's favour, protecting players from injury and offering the opportunity to rest.

While acknowledging inactivity has its benefits, Robshaw would rather to be standing toe to toe with the continent's elite.

"Heading into the World Cup you probably want to test yourself against the best players in Europe," the England captain said.

"But if the Heineken Cup doesn't happen players will get a rest as well, so there's a benefit to not being in it.

"All players want to compete in Europe, but first and foremost it has to be a fair system.

"It's not fair if some teams can rest players in their domestic leagues. It gives some teams an advantage."

England have 20 Tests before their World Cup opens against Fiji or the Cook Islands at Twickenham on September 18, 2015.

The first five of those unfold in next year's RBS 6 Nations with Robshaw admitting it is important to justify the squad's claims of having made progress during the autumn by winning the Championship.

England delivered only for one half in each of last month's victories over Australia and Argentina, but produced their best performance in losing 30-22 to New Zealand.

"We're pretty happy with the autumn. We came a long way in the three to four weeks we were together," Harlequins openside Robshaw said.

"There's still a lot more to give. There are areas like accuracy we need to improve on. 

"New Zealand were very clinical and that's how we need to be - we have to take our opportunities when they come.

"We've come second in the Six Nations in the last two attempts, so we have to go and win it now.

"We had a disappointing finale last year (losing 30-3 to Wales in Cardiff) that didn't quite go our way, but we want to kick on and win it.

"Once the Six Nations has been negotiated, England face three Tests against New Zealand in a summer tour that will be affected by a scheduling error that means the odds will be stacked against them.

The first Test takes place in Auckland on June 7, just seven days after the Premiership final at Twickenham. 

The proximity of the dates means head coach Stuart Lancaster is resigned to being unable to field his first-choice starting XV until Dunedin in the second appointment with the All Blacks.

"It's not ideal, it's a three-game series and we want to get off to a flyer," said Robshaw, one of the players that could possibly be involved in the Premiership final.

"To potentially have a lot of players not there is not ideal preparation, but we have to make the best of it.

"Everyone knows the situation, so we just have to make sure we're prepared as well as possible and give it a go."

* Chris Robshaw was speaking at the launch of QBE Hit Squad. QBE, the business insurance specialist and Official Insurance Partner of the RFU is offering four community rugby clubs in England the chance to win the ultimate coaching experience, for further information visit

© Press Assosciation


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