Robshaw wants England attack to shine this time against Argentina
England captain Chris Robshaw: ‘We were a little bit rusty against Australia and combinations weren’t as smooth as they potentially would be after two or three games’. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.
With Wasps’ Christian Wade set to be involved, England are aware pedestrian rugby will be insufficient when New Zealand arrive at Twickenham the following week.
Wade’s two spectacular game-changing tries for Wasps at Gloucester last weekend further underlined the winger’s scorching talent and have propelled him to the brink of a second Test cap, with Chris Ashton’s position the most vulnerable.
While Wade did feature as a replacement on the Lions tour and made his Test debut in the 32-3 win over the Pumas in Salta in June, the 22-year-old has been waiting patiently for this opportunity since scoring a hat-trick of tries for England’s midweek side during last year’s tour to South Africa.
With another Lion, Alex Corbisiero, earmarked for a frontrow return when the lineup is confirmed today, there is plenty to concern Argentina if a mobile England pack play at a higher tempo than they did in the first half against Australia.
“We were a little bit rusty against Australia and combinations weren’t as smooth as they potentially would be after two or three games,” confirmed Robshaw. “We have to speed up that process. We’ve got the cobwebs out of our system now.”
This does not mean England will throw the ball around sevens-style but Robshaw is seeking the kind of positive, accurate rugby which proved too much for the All Blacks last year.
“The guys are intense and purposeful,” he reported. “They know what they have to do to get a result at the weekend. It’s about everyone doing their individual jobs, it’s not about doing anything too flash. We don’t want to wait 45 minutes again before we play with the ball.”
Robshaw is visibly more comfortable as captain than he was at times last season and again topped England’s tackle stats against the Wallabies.
“I enjoyed it,” admitted Robshaw. “Our forwards didn’t miss a tackle, which is a great accolade against Australia. “Of course it’s always nice to hear good things but as an individual you are your own biggest critic. If you make 16 tackles, but miss one and they score, you definitely remember the one you miss. It doesn’t matter that you made the rest. As professional athletes, that’s what drives us on a lot of the time. You want to play a better game every week.
“We’ve looked at last weekend’s performance and we weren’t exactly happy. Even though we won, we wanted so much more out of the game. We left opportunities out there and we’ve got to make sure we take them.”
It will also be Robshaw’s responsibility to ensure England do not fall foul of the relatively inexperienced French referee Pascal Gauzere, as they so obviously did in Cardiff last season.
“It’s always a bit easier when you’re on the front foot. I think a lot of captains would say that because they’re not fighting a losing battle, are they?” reflected Robshaw, who has learned from experience to be more selective about querying decisions.
“If you think back to the Wales game we weren’t on the front foot, were chasing the game and maybe looking for angles that weren’t there. Maybe it’s better to identify a couple of key things in the game rather than trying to work every possible angle.”
England coach Stuart Lancaster has already indicated the Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees will be retained, while the Lions lock Geoff Parling, who missed the win over Australia with mild concussion, will return to the matchday 23. –