Stuart Barnes says Chris Robshaw is the right choice to lead England and compares him to New Zealand legend Richie McCaw
Last Updated: October 31, 2012 8:57am
Robshaw: leads by experience
Stuart Barnes says that Chris Robshaw is the right man to lead England.
As expected, head coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed the Harlequins man as captain for the forthcoming autumn internationals.
The flanker had to have stitches in a cut above his eye after being kicked in the face during Quins victory over London Irish last weekend, but is expected to be fit for the first of England's matches against Fiji on November 9.
England play Australia a week after the Fiji match before playing South Africa and then world champions New Zealand - and Barnes compared Robshaw's leadership qualities to those of an All Black great.
"When Robshaw strides out to training there are slight echoes of Richie McCaw - in the way he will lead the team out by example. He won't talk too much but he will get out there and he won't ask anyone to do something that he would not do."
"Robshaw is the man," Barnes told Sky Sports News.
"This is a little bit hyperbolic because of what this other guy has done, but when Robshaw strides out to training there are slight echoes of Richie McCaw - in the way he will lead the team out by example.
"He won't talk too much but he will get out there and he won't ask anyone to do something that he would not do.
"I have always been impressed by Robshaw and his ability to learn and I think he is a tremendous leader as well. He is a fine captain."
Chance for Paice
Naming his captain for the autumn internationals was the easy part for Lancaster who now has to get the balance of his team right as he builds for the future whilst making sure they remain competitive.
That's not easy when the likes of hooker Dylan Hartley, centre Jamie Joseph, lock Courtney Lawes and prop Joe Marler are out injured. The likes of George Robson and Matt Mullan have arrived as replacements but Stuart Barnes believes London Irish hooker David Paice could have the most to gain.
"David Paice is a good player but he has not had much game time this season - if he had played more maybe he would have been in contention originally.
"Leicester hooker Tom Youngs is an impact player and a world in progress. We saw in the Leicester v Gloucester game where he lost four or five line-outs that he really struggled under pressure.
"Impact players are all well and good but if you can't trust them to do the basics like throwing in straight then you have massive problems.
"With Dylan Hartley out I think this is the perfect opportunity for someone like David Paice to rise from fifth in the England rankings to the top - sort of Stephen Donald-esque, who came from the pub to be the hero of the New Zealand nation.
"Who knows what awaits David Paice."