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Robshaw roared on Lionesses

Published 12/07/2015

Chris Robshaw has hailed the performance of the England women's soccer team at the World Cup in Canada
Chris Robshaw has hailed the performance of the England women's soccer team at the World Cup in Canada

Chris Robshaw has spoken of his admiration for the England Lionesses and their achievement on soccer's global stage as the Rugby World Cup countdown continues.

Mark Sampson's squad set a towering example at the recent Women's World Cup, securing a third place finish after beating Germany for the first time in more than 20 attempts following an agonising semi-final defeat against Japan.

Robshaw is barely two months away from leading the England rugby team into a World Cup campaign on home soil, with the training squad now in Colorado for a fortnight's intense altitude training.

And the Lionesses' roar was certainly heard loud and clear in the England rugby camp.

"A lot of us watched it, myself included," Robshaw said. "We are so proud of them.

"A lot of guys probably wouldn't watch women's football, but when these major sporting events come, they grab everyone in. Everyone with a sporting interest is pulled in.

"I was at Wimbledon last Saturday speaking to Jimmy Anderson. You can feel how much excitement there is around it and how it galvanises them, and it does increase their performance so much.

"Hopefully, we can do a similar thing with pulling people into our sport.

"Any time you get to do anything for your country, it's an honour. Whatever you do for your country, you share that bond. It's about trying to deliver to your best."

England's 45-man training squad has headed to Denver, where preparations will continue at pace ahead of August warm-up Tests against France before head coach Stuart Lancaster announces his final 31-player World Cup group.

That will mean heartache for those players who fail to make the cut, and skipper Robshaw can empathise, having missed out on selection prior to the last World Cup in 2011. He was also a surprise omission from the 2013 British and Irish Lions squad.

"All the guys want to be in that final 31, but unfortunately it doesn't add up," he added.

"I know what it's like to do all the work and get the final tap on the shoulder to be told you are not going. For those who don't go, I've got a lot of sympathy.

"But it is a tough business, and it does make the squad competitive and challenge each other in the right way to make us even better.

"You never want to go through the tough times, but unfortunately they happen in life. It's about making sure that if something does happen, you react in the right way. That's the way about going about business or your job."

Robshaw will become only the third England captain to lead his country into a Rugby World Cup in Britain after Will Carling (1991) and Martin Johnson (1999) when the tournament starts in mid-September.

It means the Harlequins flanker will be under a fierce spotlight, but he is relishing the challenge that lies ahead.

"I spoke to guys at the 1991 World cup in England and how it built and built the further they went (in the tournament). It just magnified, and we have to be ready for that," he said.

"As a captain, it's about doing what is best for the team. It doesn't always have to be your idea, it's about getting the best outcome and challenging each other in the right way.

"When you win and when things go well, in life it's generally pretty smooth isn't it. Things tick along.

"But when all of a sudden things change and questions are asked and you need to adapt, you need to think on your feet, and that's when you see what you are about and what your team is about.

"I've gone through that a couple of times - of highs and lows and different scenarios. Hopefully, we will be ready for things thrown at us this summer."

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