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Robshaw expected to skipper England

England will name their captain for the QBE Internationals on Wednesday afternoon with Chris Robshaw expected to be chosen for the post ahead of Tom Wood.

Lancaster is to have individual meetings with both players who are competing to be skipper for the Twickenham appointments with Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

Robshaw is favourite to reclaim a role he last filled during the RBS 6 Nations before being rested for the summer tour to Argentina, allowing Wood to take over.

It proved a successful trip for Wood, who was outstanding and received praise for his leadership from Lancaster.

The performance of open side Matt Kvesic against the Pumas placed further pressure on Robshaw, with his claim to the number seven jersey as well as the captaincy under scrutiny.

But a solid start to the season in a struggling Harlequins side, combined with Kvesic's difficulties behind an outmuscled Gloucester pack, has seen Robshaw claw back the initiative from Wood.

The likelihood of the 27-year-old starting at seven against Australia on November 2 increased when Kvesic was among 10 players released back to their clubs on Tuesday evening.

Lancaster's squad for the autumn series convened in Leeds on Monday with Dave Attwood, Freddie Burns, Luther Burrell, Danny Care, Kyle Eastmond, Ben Foden, Alex Goode, Tom Johnson and Christian Wade joining Kvesic in returning to club duty.

"Under the terms of the elite player squad agreement we are releasing 10 players back, some of whom will play in the Premiership this weekend," Lancaster said.

"There are still places to play for and we won't finalise the side to play Australia until much closer to the game, not least because of the matches this coming weekend.

"It's a chance for those going back to stake a final claim for inclusion in the 23."

Wood, a fierce competitor who was tipped to become Lancaster's first captain when he was made coach until a long-term foot injury struck, is respected among his team-mates, but Robshaw appears to have won the nod.

Lancaster stated two weeks ago at England's kit launch that he would be happy to continue with Robshaw.

"I have always been comfortable playing Chris at seven," Lancaster said.

"He has delivered for England on a consistent basis. No one can say in any of the games he has played for England, he didn't do that.

"He had a tough end to the season with his club being knocked out of the play-offs, then the Wales-England game, and a rest was the right thing for him.

"There were areas of his game we wanted him, and he wanted, to work on - and I am certainly happy with what he is doing."


From Belfast Telegraph