Robshaw not fixated on Fraser duel
Chris Robshaw enters familiar territory on Friday night when the Aviva Premiership offers the stage to see off another pretender to his England jersey.
Matt Kvesic was viewed as a credible threat to Robshaw's status as first-choice openside when league hostilities opened 12 months ago, only for his form to collapse amid Gloucester's troubled season.
Now Saracens' Will Fraser is being touted as a viable contender after recovering from a serious ankle injury and the 24-year-old will go reputation hunting against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.
It would take something exceptional from either Fraser or Kvesic to dislodge Robshaw a year out form the World Cup, but England's management clearly want more from their captain at the breakdown.
The Robshaw-Fraser duel provides a fascinating sub-plot to the battle between two play-off regulars, but Robshaw refuses to be distracted by the intrigue.
"I've played against Will a few times and we've been in various camps together. He's a very talented player, as is everyone in Saracens' back row," he said.
"I don't see this game as being a chance to assert myself or look at it as an individual battle.
"As soon as you get caught up in who you're playing against, you loose focus on what your job is and what the team needs to get the win.
"If you try to show the world what you can do and do your own thing, potentially it can harm you.
"Of course you want to play well as an individual, but it's about making sure the team performs well and that you get the win."
England head coach Stuart Lancaster namechecked Kvesic after the Crusaders match on the summer tour to New Zealand, highlighting his effectiveness on the ground.
It is an element of Robshaw's game that needs work at a time when Australia captain Michael Hooper and Toulon's English-qualified back row Steffon Armitage are demonstrating the value of an expert poacher.
"Debates in selection will always be there and it would be a boring world without them," Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea said.
"What Chris has done over the last number of years in terms of his captaincy and his play, has been absolutely second to none. I expect him to be outstanding.
"It's great to see Will back after all the injuries he's suffered because he's an outstanding young player. I'm sure it will be a great battle."