Six Nations: Chris Robshaw praised over England captaincy

Six Nations: Chris Robshaw praised over England captaincy

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Scrum-half Ben Youngs says that England team-mate Chris Robshaw took the news that he was being relieved of the captaincy “like a champ”.

Flanker Robshaw was skipper for four years, but new coach Eddie Jones has decided hooker Dylan Hartley will take on the role for the Six Nations.

Youngs added that Robshaw was the first to shake Hartley’s hand.

Hartley is a controversial choice as captain given his poor disciplinary record, having served 54 weeks of bans.

Hartley's bans in a bar chart

He was given a 26-week ban for eye-gouging, while his other misdemeanours include biting, striking, elbowing and headbutting.

However, Youngs thinks the Northampton forward will handle the scrutiny.

“One of the things that will be a talking point will be the disciplinary stuff, but he’s come back from it every time,” said the Leicester Tigers player.

“It shows he’s determined to right the wrongs and be a role model in terms of commitment and passion and coming back for more.”

Youngs added that Harlequins’ Robshaw, who remains part of the England squad, will support Hartley in his new role.

“He’s got four years of experience of this so he’s going to help Dylan,” said Youngs. “Dylan will tap into him because it would be silly not to.”

Paul Hill, Jack Clifford and Ollie Devoto
Jack Clifford, Paul Hill and Ollie Devoto are in line for England debuts

Meanwhile, Harlequins back-row forward Jack Clifford, Northampton prop Paul Hill and Bath back Ollie Devoto could make their debuts in England’s Six Nations opener next month.

The players were retained in a 23-man squad likely to stay the same to face Scotland at Murrayfield on 6 February.

Robshaw is expected to start at blind-side flanker, while James Haskell and Billy Vunipola could make up the rest of the back row.

Jonathan Joseph is set to start at outside centre, with Owen Farrell at inside centre and George Ford at fly-half.

Full England squad for game against Scotland:

Forwards: Dan Cole (Leicester), Jack Clifford, Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw (all Harlequins), Jamie George, George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Dylan Hartley, Paul Hill, Courtney Lawes (Northampton), James Haskell, Joe Launchbury (Wasps).

Backs: Mike Brown, Danny Care (both Harlequins), Ollie Devoto, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson (Bath), Owen Farrell, Alex Goode (Saracens), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Ben Youngs (Leicester).

 

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