Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Six Nations: England new boys have no fear, says Robshaw

Young gun: Chris Robshaw is youngest captain in 28 yearsChris Robshaw vowed England's young guns will be undaunted by the history and hostility of Murrayfield as they head into today's Calcutta Cup showdown with “a point to prove.”

Robshaw, England's most inexperienced captain since Nigel Melville in 1984, leads a new-look side featuring three debutants with five more uncapped players primed to come off the bench.

Owen Farrell may have been fast-tracked into the England side but today's team includes several players who were repeatedly overlooked by Martin Johnson.

Robshaw's omission from England's World Cup plans baffled some members of the squad while it has taken Phil Dowson, consistently one of the outstanding players in the Aviva Premiership, six years to graduate from the second-string Saxons.

Farrell's centre partner Brad Barritt knew Johnson did not rate him and admitted to being relieved when he was ousted after the World Cup.

Stuart Lancaster was given temporary charge and set about launching a new era for English rugby, which starts at Murrayfield today.

Form and a desire to play for the jersey were selection prerequisites. David Strettle, Charlie Hodgson and Mike Brown have all had their England careers reignited by the new regime.

Robshaw is convinced the hunger that has burned inside all his players will stand them in good stead amid the “chaos” that Scotland coach Andy Robinson has said lies in store today.

“Playing at Murrayfield is never going to be easy, but it is something we are looking forward to,” said Robshaw, who will be making only his second Test appearance.

“The young guys want to go out there and prove a point. They have been doing it for their clubs for so long and now they want to go out there and show the nation what they can do.

“To come up here in your first Six Nations appearance is special.”

England may not have won at Murrayfield since 2004, but this team arrive to launch the defence of the RBS 6 Nations title with no baggage.

“Is it hostile? It's a great place to play. I think it's exciting more than anything,” said assistant coach Andy Farrell.

“It is one of the theatres of world rugby. It is a dream to get your first cap and to do it in a Calcutta Cup game here at Murrayfield, with such history, is extra special.”

What remains uncertain is whether the lack of international experience will ultimately count against England in the heat of a Test match.

England's starting XV boasts a total of 236 international caps compared to Scotland's 501.

“If you go on experience then of course we will be the underdogs — but we feel that we have a side that is picked on form,” said Andy Farrell.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph