Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

O'Shea: Rest could do Robshaw good

Chris Robshaw missed out on a place in the British and Irish Lions squad

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea insists Chris Robshaw does not have to go on the England tour to remain in contention for a late British and Irish Lions call-up.

Robshaw, Chris Ashton and Toby Flood are among the big names being rested from England's two-Test trip to Argentina, with head coach Stuart Lancaster set to name a youthful squad on Wednesday. Lancaster is anxious that his captain, having missed out on Lions selection, takes the opportunity to recharge his batteries before an intense two-year build-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio said last week that Robshaw should go to Argentina to keep himself match sharp in case the Lions need a back row injury replacement. But O'Shea disagrees, saying: "It is a moot point when you have played as much rugby as Chris."

He added: "Some players who were picked ahead of him have played hardly any rugby and everyone on the Lions will get a look in so they will probably only have played two games more by the time they get to the Test matches.

"Hopefully we will be playing right up until May 25 (if Harlequins reach the Aviva Premiership final). If Chris didn't go to Argentina he would be back in pre-season with us doing conditioning before the Lions tour is even finished."

Mid-way through this year's Six Nations, Robshaw was not only seen as a nailed-on certainly to tour Australia with the Lions but he was favourite to be captain and the rejection hurt him.

"Of course it is tough," Robshaw said.

"You think you are in with a good shout. I spoke to Graham Rowntree and he said I was close but that is not really a consolation is it?

"That is why the Lions is so special, it is so hard to be part of. You look at the competition in the back row, it is phenomenal the number of world-class players.

"Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it. Graham was very honest with me. He didn't try and sugar-coat things. It is a setback but it is about how you react."

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