Matt Dawson Column England Should Put World Cup In Safe Pair Of Hands
Chris Robshaw returns to action tomorrow and I would like England to welcome him back by confirming him as their World Cup captain.
I have to admit I was not totally sold on his captaincy at the start as he was not a particularly vocal leader and communicator.
But he is one of England’s most consistent performers and now is the time to back him – for the sake of the team as much as for him.
You see, England have settled for a conservative brand of rugby. Defend, play in the right areas, achieve a forward platform, get a penalty, kick the goal.
Their coaches give them a template and the players adhere to it. Everyone is on-message, everyone apparently gets along.
What concerns me is that there is not enough edge. If it’s all too nicey nicey it’s just not going to work. When everyone is pally you have a great time playing, but you don’t win anything.
As things stand, I don’t see England winning the World Cup. As skipper, Robshaw needs to take them to another level.
GettyShining example: Martin Johnson was a strong leader for England
He needs to empower the decision makers in the team to run the game according to what they see in front of them, rather than sticking to what they’ve been told to do all week.
And he needs to persuade the coaches that this is absolutely the right thing to do. That requires strong captaincy.
Martin Johnson provided that when he was skipper.
At times, Clive Woodward didn’t like it, but it worked all right.
A developing side needs to find its voice. This England team doesn’t have enough of one at this stage.
No one seems to want to put their head above the parapet – to be the person who says, ‘Hold on a minute we should be doing this’.
That is the role that Chris Robshaw must fill.
We talk about marginal gains all the time in sport these days. Well, one of those is to step up and put your nuts on the line.
Giving Robshaw the World Cup captaincy now rather than just appointing him for the Six Nations would, I believe, strengthen his voice.
It would give him an added confidence and authority to get more out of his squad. Which, in turn, might just make all the difference.
Matt is a rugby expert for BT Sport. Watch all the Aviva Premiership games live on BT Sport.