Dan Robson won his battle to save his rugby career and now wants to convince Eddie Jones that he is the scrumhalf England need to take the team to the next level.
Jones has announced he wants England to play the greatest rugby the world has ever seen and is currently relying on thirtysomethings Ben Youngs (Leicester), who is nearing a century of caps, and Gloucester’s Willi Heinz and neither if those players is likely to be in the No9 jersey for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Robson, the Wasps scrumhalf, won his two caps in last season’s Six Nations and was pressing for a place in the 2019 World squad along with Saracens Ben Spencer who was flown out as a replacement for Heinz and appeared in the final loss to South Africa.
Robson appeared to have cemented his place in the England scrumhalf rankings until a calf strain in the lead-up to the Calcutta Cup match with Scotland last March turned out to be Deep Vein Thrombosis, which had spread from his lower leg to his lungs. Keyhole surgery was required and after two operations he was put on blood thinners amid fears of cancer which were thankfully dismissed.
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Robson has recovered so well from his highly unusual ordeal that he was on the shoulder of fleet-footed Zach Kibirgie to take the pass and race in for the bonus point try that gave Wasps a much needed 30-26 win over Worcester yesterday.
So, with Youngs and Heinz currently in Portugal preparing for England’s opening Six Nations match with France on Sunday in Paris, where does Robson seen himself in Jones’s plans? “Is there frustration? Absolutely and I have spoken about being very privileged and lucky to be here today and able to play professional rugby,” said the 27-year-old. “I have recently spoken to people who have come through things like that and not be able to keep on playing. I haven’t got any grudges or disappointment anymore and it is all about looking to the future.
— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) March 7, 2019
“My game is getting better but obviously I have got things to work on and I am enjoying the challenge although I am the first to hold my hand up and say that I am not yet at my best. I am learning from each game and trying to get better and the win was very pleasing.
“We are very fortunate at Wasps to have both Jack Willis and Thomas Young and other people might say it’s disappointing for them not to be involved in the Six Nations but selfishly for us it is a massive luxury to have those two and we get so much more ball because they are a menace at the breakdown.
“It was a tough battle with Worcester and we tried to lose it at the end. It was very satisfying to scrape out the victory and I was just there at the right time because Zach has been on fire. Saracens relegation releases the pressure a bit but we are focussing on getting into Europe.”
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