Number 300 - Former England captain says goodbye
SPOTLIGHT: Former England Captain Chris Robshaw tells us that his final circuit of his long time homeground, The Stoop, felt “like I was being walked to my death” as he prepares to play his final game for the club.
The 34 year old is to start a new chapter in his rugby career when he moves to the USA to play for San Diego’s Legion but first has to make it through his last outing for his club against Leicester before he leaves.
“They’re preparing a surfboard for me,” he joked, adding he was also having motorbike lessons ahead of his switch to Major League Rugby.
The ever popular Robshaw said it was “devastating” not to have had the fans out for his last home game at The Stoop which unfortunately ended in defeat to Wasps
His final match will also be played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions on crowd gatherings.
The flank says he’s proud of reaching the 300 game landmark, 15 years after he first pulled on a Harlequins jumper and of course whom he led to a 2012 Premiership title
“It was something I first started thinking about earlier in the season, what number of games I was on, and I knew it would be touch and go,” he said.
“I did not realise it would be the last game, something which when I first started I would never have dreamed of. Achieving this incredible milestone, to represent them so many times – the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak– it might not mean a lot to others but it makes me feel rather proud.”
The lowest ebb of Robshaw’s career was when he and then head coach of England, Stuart Lancaster, copped the brunt of the criticism for England not even making it out of the pool rounds in World Cup 2015.
He had captained England since the 2012 Six Nations Cup where he had to endure a frustrating run of four successive runners-up spots in the Northern hemisphere championships. What made it worse was that three of those were on points difference.
Then came Eddie Jones whose first action as head coach was to strip Robshaw of the captaincy preferring New Zealand born Dylan Hartley but Robshaw says he’s never been bitter about it.
“The final World Cup pool game against Uruguay I thought ‘this is it, this is the end’,” said Robshaw, who skippered England in 43 of his 66 Test appearances.
“I was in a horrible situation but Eddie was honest when we chatted behind closed doors for about an hour-and-a-half.
“We got to know each other and I have a huge amount of respect for him for the trust he showed in me and gave me a second life.”
That second chance saw him play in the 2016 Six Nations grand slam team and a historic 3-0 series win in Australia
“That whole year for me had a huge meaning, coming on the back of the World Cup and the lowest point of my career,” said Robshaw.
“Losing out three successive times on points difference, looking back on it affected me massively. Winning the Grand Slam took us in that group so long to achieve.
“However, it is the second Test victory over Australia (23-7) which was my 50th cap, which stands out.
“I was man of the match, Jason Leonard presenting me with it in the dressing room and everyone applauding me.
“It meant so much to me as for me it was closure on a very difficult chapter as in the year before. It was a massive step forward.”