Will Greenwood says Chris Robshaw's injury could cost him a Lions place
Last Updated: 09/01/17 9:57pm
Will Greenwood feels the shoulder surgery which has ruled Chris Robshaw out of the Six Nations could also cost him a place in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad this summer.
The England flanker damaged his left shoulder during Harlequins' New Year's Day game against Worcester and consulted a specialist on Monday.
An immediate operation has been booked in, and Quins estimate the 30-year-old will miss around 12 weeks.
Without the opportunity to further his Lions claims during the Six Nations, Greenwood believes Robshaw will find it difficult to convince Gatland to hand him one of the back-row places in his squad for the tour to New Zealand.
"From a personal perspective missing the Six Nations will make it difficult for Chris to fight for a spot on the Lions tour."
Speaking about Robshaw's injury on Sky Sports News HQ, Greenwood said: "Firstly, I am gutted for the lad because it is a Lions year.
"Warren Gatland didn't take him in 2013. I remember writing a piece back in 2009 when I thought he might have been an uncapped Lion to South Africa such was his form in those days.
"He had a pretty torrid time as England captain at the World Cup but he has come back and been at the heart of England's rise to number two in the world on the back of 14 straight wins. Eddie [Jones] had him down as first name on the team sheet almost in terms of the contributions he makes.
"But from a personal perspective, missing the Six Nations will make it difficult for Chris to fight for a spot on the Lions tour."
Robshaw will join England number eight Billy Vunipola in missing the Six Nations as the Saracens man continues his recovery from a knee injury.
Wasps star James Haskell suffered an injury scare on Sunday against Leicester when he was forced off with a head injury just 49 seconds into his long-awaited comeback from a serious toe injury though director of rugby Dai Young has since said the England back row is "totally fine".
However, despite the injuries, Greenwood feels England head coach still has plenty of quality options to choose from.
"Eddie has had to deal with a lot of injuries during his time in charge and they tend to perform to miraculous standards because of the environment he has created," Greenwood said.
"We know Billy Vunipola is out. We know James Haskell hurt himself very quickly for Wasps on Sunday. I suspect he will be back but we have to consider that his starting back row from last year's Grand Slam might all be missing.
"Nathan Hughes is an obvious candidate to come in. He was outstanding against Australia on December 3. Jack Clifford is coming back to fitness. Eddie has always really liked him. He can play across that back row. Eddie went back to Tom Wood during the autumn and he performed outstandingly well.
"The other option you might consider is if you think you have got three brilliant second rows in Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Joe Launchbury then you could easily switch Itoje to back row which he did in Australia late on in the third Test.
"So, England will march on. England will be good in the opening game against France on February 4.
"My sympathy is for a guy who has rehabilitated himself in public opinion - everybody loves Chris Robshaw now - and before a Lions tour he is going to have to sit out some big games."