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'I think that door is closed': Former England captain Chris Robshaw delivers verdict on international future

By Online Editors

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Former England captain Chris Robshaw has conceded it’s unlikely that he’ll ever play for his country again following the rise of young flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill.


Robshaw, who last played for Eddie Jones’ side against South Africa last June, currently stands as England’s second-most experienced skipper of all-time, after having led his nation to 26 wins from 43 tests in charge.

However, his experience wasn’t enough to win him selection for England’s World Cup squad in Japan earlier this year, with Curry and Underhill – labelled by Jones as the ‘Kamikaze Kids’ – providing a masterclass throughout the tournament in the No. 6 and No. 7 jerseys.

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The youngsters’ staunch defensive presence and immense work rate at the World Cup garnered plenty of admirers worldwide, and Robshaw was among those in awe of the 21-year-old’s and 23-year-old’s exploits on rugby’s grandest stage.

“They were both brilliant, potentially England’s players of the tournament,” he said, according to the Mirror.


“They were superb throughout the whole thing, not just the odd game.”

Now at the age of 33 and in the final year of his contract with club side Harlequins, the Robshaw admitted that his time in the England jersey is likely to be all but over thanks to the emergence of Curry and Underhill.

“I’m a realist,” Robshaw said.


“I’d bite anyone’s hand off for another shot at international rugby but I think that with the back row options England now have, unfortunately they’ll go elsewhere.

“These guys are the future. Of course I’d love to have that opportunity again. You always want to play for your country, win more caps and play at Twickenham.

“But unfortunately I think that door is closed, though it won’t be for the lack of trying on my part.”

Under former coach Stuart Lancaster, the 66-cap veteran captained England for four years, and was at the helm during his country’s ill-fated 2015 World Cup campaign, of which they failed to emerge from the pool stage in front of their home fans.

Robshaw showed great strength of character in returning to the international arena in the wake of England’s downfall, however, as he went on to play a further 24 tests for England between 2016 and 2018 following their premature exit from the tournament.

In that time, he played a starring role in England’s 2016 Six Nations Grand Slam and historic series sweep of the Wallabies during their tour of Australia later that year.

“I loved playing for my country, I was extremely honoured to do so,” Robshaw said, as reported by the Mirror.

“I’ve had some massive highs, some big lows as well. You’re only ever a custodian of that shirt. Unfortunately there comes a time that somebody else takes it on.

“The exciting thing about this England side is probably two-thirds can go to another World Cup. They are the right age and there’s a lot of people knocking on the door.”

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Robshaw highlighted 22-year-old Harlequins teammate Alex Dombrandt as among those to be in the mix for the loose forward contingent when the 2023 World Cup in France rolls around.

“He’s definitely a player for the present and for the future,” he said of his fellow back rower.

“Whether he goes straight into England’s Six Nations squad I don’t now, but I’m sure there will be an opportunity for him. He’s very much ready.”

With the expiration date looming on his Harlequins contract, Robshaw is yet to make a decision regarding his post-rugby future, although a move into coaching has been ruled out of the equation.

“In the next month or so I’ll have to decide,” he said.

“I need to have big sit down over Christmas and think things through.

“Would I go into coaching? No I don’t think so. To be a good coach you have to love coaching and I don’t get that full buzz out of it.”

Robshaw could be in action again as early as this Saturday as Harlequins resume their Premiership campaign against Wasps at Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

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'I think that door is closed': Former England captain Chris Robshaw delivers verdict on international future