Eddie Jones tips ‘unburdened’ Chris Robshaw to shine for England in Six Nations

England head coach Eddie Jones believes Chris Robshaw can emerge as the best blindside flanker in Europe by the end of the RBS 6 Nations.
Eddie Jones tips ‘unburdened’ Chris Robshaw to shine for England in Six Nations

Robshaw has been replaced as captain by Dylan Hartley and Jones believes that the Harlequins back row will flourish now that he has been relieved of the responsibility.

“Chris was disappointed, but I think the next part of his career is going to be the best part of his career,” Jones said.

“I think he’ll feel a little bit unburdened and he’ll get out and play some good rugby.

“He’s been doing that for Harlequins and I think he’ll do that for England.

“I’m hopeful that by the end of the Six Nations, he’s the best number six in Europe.

“I think he’s done really well.

“He’s easily the best six in England.

“He’s got a high work-rate and reminds me of Richard Hill.

“He’s a similar sort of player to Hill.

“He never gets too many wraps, but does the hard work and that’s the sort of player he can develop as and be world class.”

England will be hoping to have another key player back for the Six Nations, after it emerged Saracens are to appeal the 10-week suspension given to wing Chris Ashton for making contact with the eye area of Ulster’s Luke Marshall.

The Aviva Premiership champions received the hearing’s written judgement on Friday afternoon and, having consulted their legal team, they have opted to contest the severity of the punishment that currently rules Ashton out of the RBS 6 Nations.

Meanwhile France centre Alexandre Dumoulin faces a race to prove his fitness for the RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy next week after being told to rest his left knee.

The Racing 92 player suffered the knock in Saturday’s defeat to Glasgow in Kilmarnock, and had to sit out the final day of France’s pre-tournament training camp yesterday, with Maxime Mermoz called in as a replacement.

A statement from the French Rugby Federation (FFR) said Dumoulin “was suffering from a trauma to his left knee”.

“In agreement with the Racing 92 doctor, he was looked after by the France medical team yesterday and today,” the statement added.

“The medical examinations carried out this morning didn’t show anything serious but a period of rest is necessary.

“In consultation between the two parties, the club and the France team, Alexandre is rejoining his club to continue his care.”

Dumoulin, 26, has played eight times for France, appearing in four of the team’s World Cup matches in the autumn. Mermoz, 29, has 30 caps.

France begin their Six Nations campaign against Italy at the Stade de France on February 6, the first match in this year’s competition.

Elsewhere Scotland’s Zander Fagerson is hoping to fulfil his boyhood dream to play for Scotland after having to choose between his two great sporting loves.

Fagerson was a national mountain bike champion as a schoolboy but always wanted to play rugby for his country.

The Glasgow prop is closing in on that ambition after joining up with Vern Cotter’s RBS 6 Nations training squad.

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