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O'Shea defends under-fire Robshaw

Conor O'Shea believes it is "laughable" to write off Chris Robshaw's England credentials just two games into the new Aviva Premiership campaign.

The Harlequins rugby director has branded early question marks raised around Robshaw's new-season form and England captaincy as "sad".

O'Shea conceded Friday night's 39-0 thumping at the hands of Saracens was "embarrassing", but bristled against several pundits questioning Robshaw's England position.

The former Ireland full-back backed 28-year-old Robshaw to lead Stuart Lancaster's England side into November's autumn Test series.

"Chris made every tackle he attempted last week, 13 out of 13 and 90 per cent of them were effective: he was phenomenal," O'Shea told Press Association Sport.

"But if people want to question what we're about and what he's about after two games, that's sad, but it's the world we live in.

"It's laughable if people want to write us off, and want to write Chris off.

"If they want to write us off then fine, but it's two games into the season, and we've won one and lost one.

"You just get on with your own game, concentrate on your own game and see where it goes."

O'Shea stood Robshaw down as Quins captain this term, to help ease the leadership burden in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015.

Fit-again Saracens flanker Will Fraser has been tipped to put the squeeze on Robshaw for an England back-row berth.

Fraser impressed in Saracens' comprehensive victory at The Stoop, and could push for a place in Lancaster's Elite Player Squad after recovering from long-term foot trouble.

O'Shea believes Robshaw has earned the right to continue guiding England forward as captain, having battled into the role the hard way in the first place.

Harlequins face Wasps at The Stoop on Saturday, with boss O'Shea admitting his men are desperate to make amends for their Saracens shaming.

"If people want to start hailing players who have not been through what Chris has been through over the last couple of years, building this England team, again, that's sad," he said.

"We can't hide from what happened against Saracens. It's never happened to us before and it wasn't very pleasant.

"We just have to crack on, no point talking about it, no point hiding from it. It's embarrassing and we feel a lot of pain - but that pain has to be taken back out onto the pitch.

"We're bitterly disappointed, and people will have opinions and that's not a problem.

"We got pumped - but to say it's an outlier would be an understatement, to say that we're hurting here would be an understatement.

"We just have to get to next Saturday and take it out there."


From Belfast Telegraph