Robshaw retains captaincy whilst Lancaster calls up 3

Stuart Lancaster has confirmed Chris Robshaw as England captain for their forthcoming Six Nations campaign.

Robshaw captained the side for the first time throughout last year’s tournament, leading his unfancied side to second place, earning much praise in the process.

He then led the side on tour to South Africa over the summer, but missed the third Test draw through injury. A return to fitness saw him once again called to lead the side through the autumn series, where for the first time in his short reign he took on some criticism for his decision making against South Africa.

A glorious victory over New Zealand saw England and Robshaw back in credit though, with his retention of the captaincy for the Six Nations seen as something of a formality by the expectant England fan base.

Upon announcing the decision, Stuart Lancaster said:

“Chris stepped into the role 12 months ago, when we were building a new team, and he has grown as a leader on and off the field. He showed those leadership qualities during the QBE Internationals, and especially against the All Blacks when the whole squad got behind him. “

“We have a number of leaders and I know they will all take this team forwards with Chris as we look to kick on from that result.”

Robshaw himself spoke of his pride in retaining the role, whilst looking forward to England’s first match, against Scotland on February 2nd:

“Stuart told me this afternoon and I am really pleased to be asked again. There are other leaders in the squad that Stuart could have turned to so I am really honoured. The lads have been great over the last year and now we our focus is on building on the New Zealand performance and getting a result against Scotland.”

Lancaster, meanwhile, has had to shake up his squad a little with Matt Kvesic and Mourtiz Botha called up from the Saxons as injury cover for Tom Johnson and Callum Clark.

Ugo Monye has also been called up from the Saxons whilst various members of the backline are assessed following their European excursions this weekend. There is particular concern over Freddie Burns who will be going for a knee scan in the next couple of days.

The call ups also mean a shake up for the Saxons squad, which has been trimmed to 25 ahead of the match against the Irish Wolfhounds in Galway on Friday night.

Jamie Gibson has been called up in place of the promoted Kvesic, while Jordan Crane comes in for Billy Vunipola who is with the Elite squad as cover for Tom Croft.

Harlequins’ Rob Buchanan, Gloucester’s Nick Wood and Leicester Tigers’ prop Kieran Brookes have all been called into the squad for the injured David Paice, Nathan Catt and Henry Thomas.

The Saxons will face Scotland A at Kingston Park on the 1st February.

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