1/22/2013

Mane man: Dallaglio admits he was wrong about Chris Robshaw - and tips him to captain Lions

 

"I’ve changed my views on Chris - the more I watch him and the more I see the stats from the games, he’s turning into an outstanding openside"

Robshaw's play has made a believer of Dallaglio

"I’ve changed my views on Chris - the more I watch him and the more I see the stats from the games, he’s turning into an outstanding openside"

Chris Robshaw has been re-appointed as England captain for the Six Nations – and backed by Lawrence Dallaglio to lead the British & Irish Lions next summer.

Less than two months ago, Harlequins flanker Robshaw was widely ridiculed for his leadership performance against South Africa.

Branded ‘Captain Calamity’ after a late call which even one of his team-mates appeared to disagree with, his stock ­plummeted.

But Robshaw’s response was that of a champion.

A week later, he led by example as his side thrashed the world champion All Blacks.

And over the weekend he captained Premiership-leading Quins to top seed quarter-final qualification in the Heineken Cup.

That was more than enough justification for England boss Stuart Lancaster to stand by his man.

And for Dallaglio to put him on top of his three-man shortlist to lead the Lions in Australia.

The World Cup winner chose Robshaw as the “outstanding ­candidate”, ahead of Wales skipper Sam Warburton and Ireland ­counterpart Jamie Heaslip.

“With the Lions, you need a forward to captain the team,” Dallaglio told talkSPORT. “The backs get all the glory. They don’t need to be captain.

"I know (Lions coach) Warren Gatland was of the view that Warburton is the best open-side and Justin Tipuric, also from Wales, is the second best.

“But he can’t have ignored the performances of Robshaw, particularly the one against New Zealand.

“With every match he’s playing better.”

Dallaglio, too, has taken some convincing admitting that, to begin with, he regarded Robshaw as a No.6 (blind-side flanker) playing at seven (open-side).

“I’ve changed my views on Chris Robshaw,” he explained. “The more I watch him and the more I see the stats from the games, I think he’s turning into an outstanding seven.

“OK, he’s not going to turn the ball over as much as a Richie McCaw or a David Pocock, but when they play against him they’re not going to turn the ball over that much either.

“I think Chris has really blossomed into a fantastic player.

“He’s leading the champion club in England, No.1 seeds in the Heineken Cup.

“He’s the outstanding candidate for me at this moment in time.”