Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Woodward - Robshaw's rightly captain

Sir Clive Woodward has backed Chris Robshaw as the right man to captain England and supported his decision to kick the late penalty in the defeat to South Africa.

Robshaw's decision-making is under the spotlight for a second successive weekend after he instructed Owen Farrell to kick at goal when England trailed 16-12 with just over two minutes left.

"It wasn't a time for big debate," Woodward told the Sportsweek programme on BBC Radio Five live. "If he goes for goal, you have to do that kick within about 10 or 15 seconds. So if they'd done it very quickly, it absolutely is the right decision."

A week earlier, Robshaw had decided not take the points on offer and go for the try as England chased the game against Australia.

On this occasion, Robshaw believed a quick penalty kick would allow England enough time to gather the restart, get back downfield and put themselves in a position to win the game.

Owen Farrell openly disagreed with the decision and urged Robshaw to kick for the corner - but Woodward insisted that was no time to question the captain's orders.

Woodward added: "Also, if I'm brutally honest, I don't think England really looked like scoring a try against South Africa. They've conceded one try in three games so the chances of England scoring that try in the last two-and-a-half minutes were quite minimal.

"But if you're going to slow the ball down and debate about it then they should have gone for the lineout and given it a go."

Woodward backed Robshaw as England's captain into the RBS 6 Nations but urged him and coach Stuart Lancaster to ensure the squad are more unified.

"Robshaw is a fantastic player and a fantastic captain and the right guy to be captaining England," Woodward said. "I expect him to be captain next week, I expect him to be captain in the Six Nations."


From Belfast Telegraph