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Robshaw keen to prolong captaincy

Chris Robshaw wants to keep hold of the England captaincy on a long-term basis - and against Italy on Saturday night he will go out and prove it.

The Harlequins flanker was initially appointed for the first two matches of England's RBS 6 Nations campaign. Interim head coach Stuart Lancaster plans to review the situation next week.

Northampton flanker Tom Wood is the leading alternative but he has been out of action with a toe injury. Having tasted the honour of leading England into their 13-6 victory over Scotland last weekend, Robshaw will not let go of the captaincy lightly. "I want to keep the captaincy," he said.

"It's the biggest honour of my career and last Saturday was one of my proudest days - leading the guys out and singing the national anthem. It's one of those things you wish could continue long into the future. But we've first got to take care of today (Saturday)."

The temperatures in Rome may have plummeted but Robshaw has warned Italy that England are prepared to fight fire with fire at the Stadio Olimpico. The temperature is forecast to drop to minus three soon after kick-off - but if Italy bring anything to a Six Nations match it is fire and brimstone.

The Azzurri have never beaten England in a Test match but they will be roared on by a sell-out crowd.

Robshaw is convinced England's new-look side have the hunger and determination to match Italy in the passion stakes and build on last weekend's Murrayfield triumph.

"We have no illusions about what it is going to be like," Robshaw said. "Coming to Italy, to their capital in the heart of their country, is not easy and they are getting better year on year. They will want to go out and prove they are a rugby force.

"Everyone knows about the Italian passion but we have to match that. Everyone who is in this set-up at the moment is so passionate to play for their country. We will have to front up. We are under no illusions, we know what passion is coming. It is about going toe to toe with each other.

"Italy are always a very physical and passionate side, they will hold the ball through phases and they will have a go through the forwards. Last week's win showed the character of our guys. When you go away from home it is you against a whole nation."


From Belfast Telegraph