CHRIS Robshaw deserves a place on the plane to Japan as one of England’s most consistent performers over the past decade, insists Red Rose legend Lewis Moody.
The 32-year-old Harlequins flanker won his last cap for his country against South Africa in June 2018 before he was forced to sit out the autumn internationals with a knee injury.
He returned to action for his club last month and was included in England’s 31-man training squad ahead of their Six Nations clash with Italy, but did not make the cut for the matchday squad.
And while Tom Curry and Mark Wilson have impressed in his absence, Rugby World Cup winner Moody believes Robshaw’s experience could be vital for England in Japan.
“I would love to see him on the plane to Japan,” said Moody, speaking at a Land Rover event at Farleigh House in Bath, where three youngsters were chosen to fly to Japan and be Land Rover mascots during Rugby World Cup 2019.
“Billy Vunipola is obviously vastly experienced, and very outspoken, but it’s helpful when you have Curry and Sam Underhill who are two young lads.
“Mark Wilson is young on the international scene, but still an old head, so is Chris essential? I don’t necessarily think so, but he deserves to be there if he is playing well in my opinion.
“Consistently he has been one of the best back rowers we’ve had over the last ten years, he never necessarily stands out, but he is so consistent week in, week out.
“That’s what people praised Richard Hill for being for over a decade and that’s why Chris has been so good for England over the last ten years or so.”
Robshaw was England captain at the last World Cup in 2015 when the host nation failed to progress from their pool after suffering defeats to Wales and Australia.
The disappointment of that humiliation – England were the first host nation to go out in the World Cup pool stages – means Robshaw will be looking for redemption in Japan.
Moody understands the drive Robshaw has to put things right having experienced after being part of the England team who were knocked out at the quarter-final stages in 2011.
But Moody also wants to see a return to the England fold for Robshaw because of the leadership qualities he brings, especially with Dylan Hartley no longer guaranteed a place in the team.
“Having gone through 2011 myself and the disappointment of that World Cup, I would have bitten your arm off to make it to another World Cup to try and change that outcome,” Moody said.
“Ultimately 2015 came around, we think we’re maybe better than we are, we go into a home World Cup with huge aspirations and we don’t make it out of the pool.
“That’s just the World Cup, every game is so key and when they get out there having someone like Chris, who has experienced the disappointment, will really help them.
“Especially when you look at the decision-making stuff that has been questioned in the England side at the moment, whether it’s a Hartley or Robshaw around will help.
“Hartley is potentially not deserving of being in the side from a performance view anymore, so it’s unlikely it will be him, but Robshaw can help guide Owen Farrell on the pitch.
“Ultimately you have to make a decision and go with it. It’s how you keep everyone galvanised for the full 80 minutes which as Eddie has said, they haven’t got right yet.”
Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. To be in with a chance to be a Land Rover mascot at RWC2019 visit www.premiershiprugby.com/landrovercompetition
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