The future of Chris Robshaw’s international career is in much doubt in the shadow of Eddie Jones’ appointment.
Many have criticised him as an international open-side in a game which is fast developing for the traditional number seven - becoming a poacher and looking to jackal at every opportunity.
Robshaw managed a grand total of just two turnovers in the entirety of the World Cup - a tournament which was a shambles for the captain, manager and the team.
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Future in another position?
So perhaps, the open-side position is closing. However, Robshaw has all the attributes to make a very good blind-side flanker. Robshaw tackles well, making 82 tackles in the last six nations, as well as having a 91% tackle success ratio at the World Cup.
So whilst he may not be a David Pocock at the breakdown, he is essential for England’s defence. However, Robshaw’s future, if there is to be one, still lies at open-side flanker, because his gritty nature, sheer work effort in defence and ability to keep the ball moving means he still has a lot to offer England.
In terms of any competition for Robshaw’s number seven jersey, the main one lies outside of England and the Premiership. If the laws are changed to incorporate him, Steffon Armitage is a no brainer. Tom Wood has also emerged as a potential candidate for both the position and the captaincy.
James Haskell is in fine form for a flying Wasps team, after a World Cup of little opportunity. Wasps Director of Rugby, Dai Young, has also thrown one name into the hat that would really shake things up, saying Nathan Hughes would be able to play flanker, and features regularly in the Coventry side’s lineouts. All three English-based players could threaten Robshaw's position in the starting line-up
Robshaw's position as captain remains tenuous. He is clearly a leader, as seen from his tackle stats, he is always at the front setting an example.
However, his decision making has been shaky at times, with biggest example coming in the decision to go for the try rather than the posts against Wales at the World Cup.
The subsequent line out from the kick to touch was awful, as was the maul afterwards, putting the pack as a whole at fault.
In the end, It will be down to Jones, but Robshaw, whilst not everyone’s cup of tea, is a workhorse that puts everything in for his country and leaves everything on the pitch.
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