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Chris Robshaw has admitted that watching Tom Curry and Sam Underhill star at the World Cup convinced him his England career is at an end.
Only Will Carling has captained the Red Rose nation more than Robshaw, who led his country to 26 wins in 43 Tests in charge.
But he missed out on the tournament in Japan, where ‘Kamikaze Kids’ Curry and Underhill turned in a back row masterclass during England’s march to the final.
Robshaw admits he was hugely impressed seeing the young pair – just 21 and 23 years of age respectively – make such a mark on rugby’s biggest stage.
“They were both brilliant, potentially England’s players of the tournament,” he said. “They were superb throughout the whole thing, not just the odd game.”
It left Robshaw, now 33 and in the final year of his contract at Harlequins, conceding: “I’m a realist.
“I’d bite anyone’s hand off for another shot at international rugby but I think that with the back row options England now have, unfortunately they’ll go elsewhere.
“These guys are the future. Of course I’d love to have that opportunity again. You always want to play for your country, win more caps and play at Twickenham.
“But unfortunately I think that door is closed, though it won’t be for the lack of trying on my part.”
Robshaw skippered England for four years under Stuart Lancaster. He will be remembered for the nation’s 2015 World Cup flop, but also for an impressive show of character bouncing back under Eddie Jones.
To put such massive disappointment behind him and star in England’s 2016 Grand Slam and historic series sweep of Australia later that year was a measure of the man.
“I loved playing for my country, I was extremely honoured to do so,” he said. “I’ve ha
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