Former England captain Chris Robshaw is set to play his final game for Harlequins at the Stoop this evening, in what is also his 299th appearance for the club.
After 16 years in southwest London, the 34-year-old is set to join Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion, bringing a close to an illustrious career in England.
While the 66-cap international’s credentials as a Harlequins legend do not need to be discussed, what is being frequently mentioned online is the unfortunate and undeserved circumstances in which a player of Robshaw’s calibre is going to bow out of the Gallagher Premiership.
Robshaw, alongside the likes of Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth and Brad Barritt, are set to play, or already have played, their final games in empty stadiums, which is far from a befitting farewell.
Although Harlequins welcomed 2,700 spectators to the Stoop at the beginning of the month against Bath, the new government decision to delay the return of fans to stadiums means the 2012 Premiership winning captain will not even be afforded the chance to play in front of a partial crowd this evening.
Of course, the situation could have been worse for players like Robshaw, had the Premiership gone down the same route as the Top 14 and decided to annul the season. That would have meant he would have inadvertently played his final game before the Covid-19 pandemic. At least in this situation he can depart on his own terms, albeit in a slightly hollow atmosphere.
Indeed, Robshaw’s former teammate Mark Lambert actually ended his career during lockdown, meaning he did even have the chance to have a swansong. To avoid that fate, the flanker extended his time with Quins until the end of this campaign.
With no chance of making the playoffs in the league, Robshaw’s 300th and final game for Quins will be next week, if he is selected, against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
I’ve been at The Stoop for every Premiership game Chris has played in. So disappointing that I (and all fans) can’t be at his last home game. He’ll be a hard act to follow.
— Janet Scott (@JanetScott278) September 28, 2020
If only he could've had the send off he deserved. Been a excellent player for Quins. https://t.co/aH8kEmdA3M
— Jane Betterton (@B005Jane) September 27, 2020
If anyone ever deserved a 10 minute clap off, it's this man. I hope he walks off like @ugomonye ?
I hope Quins fire the sound system up for what he would've received!!! We'll all be cutting onions when be comes off!
— Joe M (@Mini_dunk) September 27, 2020
Such a shame we can't be there to give @ChrisRobshaw the reception he truly deserves when he runs out tomorrow for his final home game.
An absolute star for our club and a great ambassador for English rugby.
— Adrian Brown (@akbrown00) September 27, 2020
Decent side without a doubt, gutted we can’t be there to give Chris the send off he deserves, but will be there in spirit #ComeOnYouQuins
— Friends Of The stoop (@QuinsFOTS) September 27, 2020
— Darren Over (@DarrenOver) September 27, 2020
Really feel for players like @ChrisRobshaw who have made such huge contributions to their clubs over long careers, and not getting the standing ovations from packed stands that they deserve before departing. https://t.co/43ft0DaEaj
— John Jeffreys (@J_Jeffreys) September 28, 2020
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