Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Robshaw to console culled stars

Chris Robshaw will console the eight players whose World Cup dreams are to be shattered knowing only too well the misery endured after being overlooked.

England's 39-man training squad must be trimmed to 31 by August 31 with Saturday's second warm-up against France the last opportunity for head coach Stuart Lancaster to settle outstanding selection issues.

Robshaw was the highest-profile casualty of Martin Johnson's final cull heading into the 2011 World Cup, providing one of the most disappointing moments of his career, and he will draw on his own experience to offer a sympathetic ear.

"It's a tough situation. You must have compassion and understanding for those who miss out," Robshaw said.

"You must speak to individuals, whether or not they take the advice you give. It's always tough and sometimes you don't want to hear anything, you just want to go off and do your own thing.

"The guys who unfortunately won't make it will have challenged us in every aspect and it's about making sure they leave on the right terms.

"I'll try to speak to the majority of them if I can, just be there for them. I think that a lot of the other guys will do that as well.

"As a team, when we know guys are going home, we thank each other for all of the hard work that has gone into helping us get into the best possible position.

"I'm not saying that it makes it easier, but hopefully it can have some benefit."

Robshaw has been seeking advice himself from a variety of sources as he prepares for his role as figurehead of the host nation in the year's biggest sporting event.

"I try and speak to as many people as possible, in the rugby forum or outside of rugby - in sport, business, fashion, music or anyone who experiences pressure situations," he said.

"We have had people like Andy Flower and Roy Hodgson come in, people who have who have been in big tournaments.

"I sat next to Jimmy Anderson at Wimbledon this year and Stuart Broad was at the France game last weekend.

"It's about learning how to win. Everyone asks how do you want to play and how do you want to perform, but it's about winning.

"You look back to when the 2003 team won the World Cup - and I have spoken to a number of those guys in their time - and they say they had games they won easily and games in which they just about clawed their way home."


From Belfast Telegraph