Robshaw returns to England captaincy

PA Sport
Chris Robshaw will captain England against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand
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Chris Robshaw will captain England against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand

Chris Robshaw has been confirmed as England captain for the QBE autumn Tests against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Robshaw captained England to second place in the RBS 6 Nations championship and on the summer tour to South Africa, although he missed the drawn third Test with a broken hand. Dylan Hartley took over the reigns in Port Elizabeth but Robshaw was always the favourite to lead England into a challenging autumn campaign at Twickenham.

England coach Stuart Lancaster finalised his squad last Wednesday but delayed the captaincy announcement until the players arrived in camp at the Football Association's new St George's Park centre, and he said: "Chris has been outstanding on and off the field and we are delighted that he will captain the team for what will be an immense challenge in the QBE internationals."

He added: "We have a strong leadership group in this squad and I know that Chris will be well supported by them in the weeks ahead.

"It was important to wait until after last weekend's Aviva Premiership matches to check on everyone's form and fitness and not interrupt the players' preparations. I have had the chance now to have a one-to-one catch-up with each player and we are really pleased to announce Chris as captain."

Robshaw has led England to five victories from his eight Test matches as captain, including Six Nations wins against France in Paris and Ireland at Twickenham.

"It's a real honour to be asked again. I enjoyed being captain in the Six Nations and in South Africa and this is a great group of players who really want to be successful," Robshaw said. "We are lucky to have some good leaders in the squad who I know I can work well with and count on their support."

Hartley and Courtney Lawes, who both suffered knee injuries in Northampton's defeat to Saracens, have returned to their club to undergo further treatment.

Nine other squad members have been made available for Premiership duty this weekend. Anthony Allen, Mike Brown, Phil Dowson, Ben Morgan, James Haskell, Jordan Turner-Hall and Ben Youngs were all released by England on Tuesday night.

Worcester prop Matt Mullan and Harlequins lock George Robson, who were initially called up as injury cover for Joe Marler and Lawes, will train with England on Wednesday before returning to their clubs.

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