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Chris Robshaw: England happy to be favourites against South Africa

Published 12/11/2016

England's Chris is embracing the challenge of facing South Africa
England's Chris is embracing the challenge of facing South Africa

Chris Robshaw insists England are happy to embrace their status as favourites for Saturday's autumn opener against South Africa.

The Springboks launch the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham knowing they have not lost to the Red Rose since 2006, but it is Eddie Jones' men who start as heavy favourites after amassing a nine-Test winning run.

"We are in a very different position now in terms of playing against a team like this when we are favourites," former captain Robshaw said.

"It's a great position to be in and it shows the hard work that everyone has put in but it's now about how do we go from that to making sure that we deliver. That's the next stage in our progression.

"South Africa are a very good team, and it's going to be extremely tough, but we need to make sure that the pressure we are putting on ourselves, irrelevant of what's going on outside... we want to go out there and perform as well as possible.

"We want to hit our straps, we want to go on and kick on from what we did last season and not just rest on our laurels."

Captain Dylan Hartley has urged England to look to Chicago for inspiration as they seek to end a decade of failure against Saturday's opponents.

Hartley has noted the recent seismic sporting events in Chicago that saw Ireland topple New Zealand for the first time in their history and the Cubs win the World Series for the first time 108 years.

"Whatever happened in the past, the Irish wrote their own history and the Cubs wrote their own history, so we want to do the same as a team. We want to write our own history," the captain said.

"We are a team that have got a goal under Eddie Jones to be the best in the world and winning this game at the weekend is a huge step for us going forward as a team.

"Losses and wins are all in the past. We have been building for this game for a long, long time. The team is prepared and are desperate to win.

"The thing for us is the next step as a team. We are always focusing on the next game. Beating South Africa this weekend is just next step in this team's progression."

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