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Toby Flood: Why skipper Robshaw is key to England's rugby success
ENGLAND'S Six Nations opening victory against Scotland marked almost a year to the day that Chris Robshaw was first installed as captain by the then new coach Stuart Lancaster.
That day in 2012, Robshaw lead England to a 13-6 victory in just his second appearance, and the flanker was at it again to lift another Calcutta Cup last weekend.
A lot has happened between now and then to Robshaw, with the 26-year-old having led Harlequins to a first-ever Aviva Premiership title as well as international victories in France and against World Cup champions New Zealand.
But fly-half Toby Flood is adamant Robshaw hasn’t let this success get to his head, making him the life and soul of England on the field even if he is the opposite off it.
“Chris is still the same guy he was a year ago,” Flood said. “I think that is why he has been picked because of that down-to-earth attitude he has.
“He is not the life and soul of the party off the field. He is not going to be driving the jokes, but he is incredibly driven and he wants to be learning and wants to get better and I think, because of that, guys will follow him.
“He speaks very clearly and concisely. People tie into that and he is important for us in that respect.
“He hasn’t let the captaincy change his game at all and that is a hard thing to do because some people might let it go to their head.
“But he has been able to continue to do what got him there in the first place. He has stuck to his guns and not changed at all - and that is great to see.”
It hasn’t all been rosy though for Robshaw during his tenure as captain, coming under scrutiny for telling Owen Farrell to take a shot at goal against South Africa late in the game with the Springboks just four points ahead.
England went on to lose the game 16-15, but Robshaw responded to the criticism in style by downing the Kiwis next time around. Flood admits this is the measure of the man that the Red Rose can now rely on.
“To have a guy who had that amount of fall-out after the Australia and South Africa games and then go and get the result he did against New Zealand, it all pales all into insignificance” Flood added.
“He didn’t let it faze him. He kept believing in what he was doing and he kept moving forward. Throughout it all, he had the belief and trust of his players and that is so key.”
Toby Flood is representing the England team for Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Official partner of the RFU. Marriott Hotels & Resorts is giving away a two night break in Europe every time England score a try in the RBS 6 Nations. Go to Facebook.com/MarriottHotelsUK for more details.