Chris Robshaw is confident the future looks bright for England under new head coach Eddie Jones, particularly with Josh Beaumont in line to earn his first full cap during the Six Nations.
It will not have come as much of a surprise to Sale Sharks fans when former Fylde forward Beaumont was named in Jones’ first squad.
And neither was it for England’s World Cup captain Robshaw who believes the 22-year-old starlet can cut the mustard at the highest level.
The son of former England captain, British & Irish Lion and current RFU chairman Bill, Beaumont’s name carries a certain rugby pedigree, but the impressive number eight is making a name for himself in his own right with Sale this season.
And Robshaw admits Beaumont and his fellow newcomers in the squad could be the ones to make the biggest impact in the Six Nations – with Jones hoping to shake things up after the Red Rose’s dismal World Cup campaign.
“I’ve not met Josh yet personally, but playing against him he is a very tough opponent indeed,” he said, speaking at the launch of the Chris Robshaw testimonial year as he celebrates ten years at Harlequins.
“He’s explosive off the base, a strong carrier and a good lineout forward. He’s difficult to play against which is what you want in the side, and he is one of the individuals that are going to be out there pushing to be included in the starting XV.
“As a player you want to be in that XV and if not on the bench doing as well as you possibly can for the side, and it’s going to be great to have so many people competing for those spots.
“Maro Itoje is another one, as is Jack Clifford. Both have gone up another gear after breaking into their sides last season, and made themselves a real handful.
“They make life very hard for their opponents, stopping exits and stuff like that. I’m sure they’ve both got a good future.”
England travel to a hostile Murrayfield next month for their opening Six Nations clash with Scotland, and following their own World Cup heroics Vern Cotter’s side could be going in as genuine favourites for the first time in years.
The first of Robshaw’s 42 tests as England captain came at the same venue, and after a turbulent five months he cannot wait to wipe the slate clean again in Edinburgh.
He added: “It’s always a fierce rivalry in the Calcutta Cup, and of course with the way that Scotland have been playing recently they will be a very tough team to play.
“They used to be a bit of a niggly side, but now they are playing a much more expansive game which should make for an exciting clash.
“I think the biggest thing for me is just making sure I am part of the team at Murrayfield and making sure one of the starting XV shirts is mine.
“It’s about being part of a successful team. For me, if I was reinstated as captain, I would of course be hugely honoured and love that role.
“But if he does select someone else then I will respect his decision and fully support that person that comes in.”
For more information about the Chris Robshaw testimonial year, please visit the website at http://testimonial.chrisrobshaw.com/ or call the event office on 0203 7706982