I reckon needing a specialist openside at a World Cup should count as an exceptional circumstance, to allow Lancaster to pick him. At times, when the flak was flying at its hardest after his ill-fated decision to go for a lineout rather than kick at goal, Robshaw must have wondered whether his dream job of captaining his country at a home World Cup was worth it.
So he chose to leave the England bubble on Wednesday afternoon and expose himself to the public, taking only his pet Affenpinscher, Rico, for protection.
“You have got to take those failures, move on and build on from those and be successful after that”. That’s what it’s all about.
“They can attack you from anywhere but they not only have the talent in the forwards but in the backs. There are good times, there are bad times and you need to learn how to deal with it”, Robshaw said. “If I was England, I would be saying if we support our ball carrier accurately then there will not be any chance of them pilfering the ball”. “You want to go out and prove a couple of people wrong”.
Cheika, the only coach to have won a European Cup and a Super Rugby title with Leinster and the Waratahs respectively, said he did not know whether England lack self-belief after their devastating 28-25 loss to Wales last Saturday.
“They’ve not just played well individually, they have combined well too”.
Should they fail to do so, they face the prospect of being the first host nation not to make it through to the knock-out stages, though given the strength of Pool A, or the ‘Group of Death as many commentators have referred to it, this may not be such a huge shock. “It is like when you play New Zealand with McCaw in the team, you have to adapt. Quade, I thought particularly, had a good game”, Larkham added. It is about what you do next.
“We have an option, don’t we?”
“That’s something we knew we would be encountering, so we have tried, as best we can because you can’t simulate it, to prepare a map to get out of the situations”.
“We saw that Fiji are a solid, very strong team who play with a lot of speed”, said Giteau.The suspension takes effect immediately and includes the player’s remaining matches at the Rugby World Cup and thereafter converts to weeks with his English club, Gloucester.
“‘Can we up the ante, can we up the tempo and put teams away?’ Hopefully we can”. But it is their ability to combine that passion with clarity of thinking tomorrow which will decide their fate. If the real England turn up for the whole 80 minutes they should win the game. The 37-year-old Harlequin, who only joined the squad on Monday, is preferred on the bench to James Haskell and will provide Robshaw with a familiar sounding board.
Australia have paired the double threat of Michael Hooper and David Pocock in a bid to blitz England at the breakdown in Saturday’s crucial World Cup battle.
And Pocock says he and Hooper – six foot and 5ft 12ins respectively – are striking a blow for the little guys as they follow in the tradition of previous Australian pocket dynamos. “They’ve potentially got two of the best breakdown specialists in the world”.
If Lancaster’s future rests on the outcome of the game, Robshaw is no less exposed.