England captain Chris Robshaw criticises New Zealand tour planning after Premiership clash
Last Updated: 14/05/14 3:15pm
England captain Chris Robshaw has condemned the scheduling of their tour to New Zealand with players featuring in the Aviva Premiership final set to miss the opening Test.
The Harlequins flanker believes overlapping the international and domestic calendars is an error in judgment, insisting he will remain solely focused on the club’s Premiership campaign.
Robshaw’s Harlequins travel to Allianz Park on Saturday for a semi-final showdown with table-topping Saracens as they bid to reach only their second Premiership final.
That final will be staged at Twickenham on May 31 and with England’s first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7, Robshaw admits it is a less than perfect state of affairs.
"It's a tough scenario isn't it,” he told Sky Sports News. "It's not ideal planning whoever has sorted that out, but it is what it is and as players we've got to get on with it.
It's a tough scenario isn't it. It's not ideal planning whoever has sorted that out, but it is what it is and as players we've got to get on with it.
"At the moment we're in club matters. Here at Harlequins we've got an exciting semi-final and that's where our priority is, it's as simple as that.
"Whenever we join up with England all our priorities will go over to that, but at the time being we want to go to Saracens at the weekend to win and hopefully get into a final. “
England, currently ranked fourth in the IRB rankings, face a three-Test series against world champions New Zealand and Robshaw believes it will be a strong indicator of their progress.
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Stuart Lancaster’s side were narrowly edged to the Six Nations trophy by Ireland and Robshaw admits England are ready to be put through their paces in the most rigorous of tests.
"It's an exciting challenge for us,” he added. "Of course we were disappointed after the Six Nations, not quite to finish it and be pipped on points.
"We feel this tour has come at the right time for us. It is probably the most challenging place to go and test yourself but that's exactly what this groups of guys are looking forward to, testing ourselves against the best in their environment.
"We are really looking forward to giving it a good go down there."