>> Robin­son: Eng­land must find more lead­ers

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - By JON NEWCOMBE

WORLD CUP hero Ja­son Robin­son be­lieves it is “only a mat­ter of time” be­fore Owen Far­rell is named Eng­land’s out­right cap­tain but is wor­ried a power vac­uum ex­ists around the Sara­cens man.

Far­rell cur­rently shares the arm­band with Dy­lan Hart­ley but with the hooker strug­gling to re­tain his place, a change of tack may be needed from Ed­die Jones be­fore next year’s World Cup. Speak­ing to The Rugby

Pa­per on the 15th an­niver­sary of English rugby’s great­est day, Robin­son said: “Far­rell is now the go-to man for English rugby. Hart­ley is an­other leader but there is a dif­fer­ence. When you pick the team, Owen Far­rell’s is the first name out of the hat – for his kick­ing and the way he runs the show and takes con­trol when he plays at 10.

“He’s no dif­fer­ent to his fa­ther, he ab­sorbs the pres­sure and thrives off it.

“It is prob­a­bly only a mat­ter of time be­fore he be­comes cap­tain in his own right but, for me, it doesn’t mat­ter re­ally. If he is cap­tain or not you are go­ing to get the same thing from him – 100 per cent. Very rarely does his per­for­mance drop be­low a cer­tain level, you never see him get­ting a 5 or 6 out of 10. Owen runs that team.”

Robin­son, scorer of Eng­land’s only try in the 2003 World Cup win against Aus­tralia, says lead­er­ship ran through Clive Wood­ward’s team and chal­lenges Far­rell’s team-mates to match his con­sis­tency. And if they can re­pro­duce that per­for­mance against the All Blacks, he says a sec­ond World Cup win is pos­si­ble.

“I think one of the dif­fer­ences be­tween the teams is that this team now prob­a­bly doesn’t have the same lead­er­ship as we did,” he said. “We were very lucky to have so many lead­ers, a lot of club cap­tains and a lot of play­ers who had been around the block. It wasn’t al­ways Martin John­son mak­ing de­ci­sions.”

He adds: “There’s no doubt in my mind they can do it. There are still a few play­ers out, like the Vu­nipo­las, who will add to this side. Against the All Blacks it was like a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team – a team that we’d been hop­ing to see for some time. Although they lost by a point, men­tally they would have taken a lot of pos­i­tives – it was a game they should’ve won and that has to be the bench­mark.

“We know we’ve got a team that can com­pete with the best and beat the best. What they need to do now is get some con­sis­tency in per­for­mance and se­lec­tion.”

Robin­son be­lieves re­cent re­sults have blown the World Cup wide open.

“The top six teams in the world know that on their day they can beat New Zea­land, 12 months ago it wasn’t like that. They are more vul­ner­a­ble than they have been for a few years, but New Zea­land al­ways come back from de­feats stronger and they will be a bet­ter team at the World Cup than they are now.”

Win­ning the World Cup has been a game-changer for Robin­son and his team­mates and the 44-year-old hopes the cur­rent squad ex­pe­ri­ence such eu­pho­ria.

“Hav­ing played in three World Cups (two Union and one League) and got to the fi­nal in all of them, it is the tough­est thing you can do as a team. But it would be, if they get it right, their great­est achieve­ment.”

Ja­son Robin­son is an am­bas­sador for Fuzion100, the Of­fi­cial Re­hy­dra­tion Part­ner of Eng­land Rugby. For more info visit: www.co­co­fuzion100.co.uk

Leader: Owen Far­rell

Win­ner: Ja­son Robin­son

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