“We’re in a very good place”- Chris Robshaw
There has been so much talk about 2015 for the last two or three years. Now that it’s finally here, the players are really excited.
We’ve had a tough couple of weeks at Pennyhill Park and the squad will be travelling to the altitude of Denver for the next leg of our preparation later this week. To breathe and walk around is tough enough when you’re up a mountain – let alone training so it’s going to be a very intense period! Hopefully the guys in the squad can really progress their fitness levels and it’s also a good chance to get away and bond together as a group. It’s a hugely exciting time for England Rugby and it’s been great to get stuck in over the last few weeks.
You would think that after a long and competitive season with your club it might be hard to turn your attention straight to the national side, but as soon as you get to the first training session its England time. Whatever has happened in whatever club game you’ve played that all goes out the window and everyone’s there for England.
Now we’re in camp the focus is all about how we can make this team as good as possible and about doing what’s best for England in the upcoming months. It’s irrelevant what club you play for and it’s now about getting the best out of each other as a group going into a crucial period for English rugby. An important part of that is having a culture of honesty so you can learn lessons whether you win or lose. We are all very honest with each other and if someone messes up you’ve got to accept it and learn from it because that could be difference between winning and losing somewhere down the line.
As captain, a lot of responsibility falls on my shoulders to make sure we develop the right culture among the squad. But I’m fortunate to have a lot of leaders alongside me, many of whom also captain their clubs. I think with leadership, a lot of it is leading by example and going out there to earn the shirt every time you train or play. But it’s also about adjusting how you speak to different individuals in the squad to get the best out of each of them as players.
Playing an international sport and being an international captain can be difficult, there are times when things can go against you and there are also times when things go for you and you have to be comfortable in the way you deal with both those situations. But I think it’s important to remember that being a captain is not a one-man job. The same as in any business we have key people running each department, our lineout, our scrum, our attack and our defence and you trust these guys to do their job and do it for the good of the side in every game you play.
With the first QBE International against France now less than four weeks away the squad is ready to crack on with the next leg of our preparations. We’re aiming to keep pushing ourselves as a team and looking to put in some good performances in the QBE Internationals which would leave us in a good place ahead of the tournament.