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Walking the dog helps Chris Robshaw escape the pressure of captaining England

Chris Robshaw relieves the pressure of his position as England captain at a home World Cup by walking his dog Rico in the park.

Robshaw has faced a barrage of criticism since Saturday's 28-25 defeat by Wales at Twickenham, a result that means the tournament hosts must dispatch Australia on Saturday if they are to avoid an inglorious group exit.

Strong words greeted his decision to opt for an attacking line-out instead of directing Owen Farrell to attempt a penalty that would have secured a draw with Warren Gatland's men in the closing moments.

To escape the glare accompanying England's biggest match since the 2007 World Cup final, the 29-year-old openside has sought the company of his Affenpinscher.

"I take the dog for a walk. The tournament is on your mind a lot, but that is when you use the experience from the past about what has worked well," Robshaw said.

"Everyone does something different to relax. Richie McCaw flies gliders, Tom Wood likes shooting his bow and arrow and Tom Youngs likes to go farming.

"Everyone has got something. Maybe go for lunch, the cinema. It doesn't have to be something extravagant and whatever it is, use it."

Robshaw has made peace with the penalty decision, stating "hindsight is a wonderful thing but unfortunately we don't play in that", and has endured enough criticism during his captaincy to batten down the hatches for the latest storm.

"You have to take the rough with the smooth. There are good times, there are bad times and you need to learn how to deal with it," Robshaw said.

"You need to know what's happening, absorb it and use it. That's the best way. You want to go out and prove a couple of people wrong.

"As a team it brings you closer together. You find out about the character of the individuals around you, how much you mean to each other and how much people outside mean to you.

"That's when you really see a team form, there's a unity in it. We've got ourselves in the best possible frame of mind to deliver and now we need to."

Robshaw has responded to the possibility of the unthinkable happening by failing to reach the World Cup knockout stage by reminding the nation that England's destiny remains in their own hands.

"We have an option. We can change things this weekend or we can let it linger," he said.

"As players we have to front up and change things. There is no point dwelling on it.

"Last weekend was heartbreaking and devastating. We let things get away from us, but in sport a week can be a long time. We have got that chance on Saturday to put it right.

"It's knock-out rugby. There's no second chance. It's all on the line. We know that."


From Belfast Telegraph