England coach Stuart Lancaster delays naming captain

Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says he will delay making a decision over his captain for the autumn internationals until later this month.

Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood are vying for the role for the games against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

A decision is expected when England meet for a training camp on 21 October.

"Everyone has to fight to play. If you named the captain now it shuts the door on people in the position," Lancaster told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"There's no need to announce a captain early when it might influence what you're thinking selection wise.

"I am not going to hand the captaincy around like confetti, but it can way heavily. I do not see it as a shootout between Chris and Tom.

"You also have to consider form and fitness. Chris Robshaw has done a great job thus far, Tom Wood did a great job in Argentina having not captained his club side before.

"Dylan Hartley has done it for us. Geoff Parling stepped up as key leader on the Lions tour, and both (England assistant coaches) Andy (Farrell) and Graham (Rowntree) felt he showed captaincy material.

"But Chris has done a brilliant job so far and definitely hasn't let us down."

Harlequins captain Robshaw, 27, has skippered England 16 times, having done so for the first time in January 2012 after just one cap.

Northampton flanker Wood, 26, captained England for the first time in the 2-0 series win over Argentina in June.

England enter their autumn schedule, which opens against Australia at Twickenham on 2 November, without Brad Barritt as he continues rehabilitation from foot surgery while fellow centre Manu Tuilagi is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.

Billy Twelvetrees is in pole position to fill the number 12 jersey while Jonathan Joseph, Joel Tomkins and Henry Trinder are competing to partner him in midfield.

"To lose Brad and Manu in the space of a week was disappointing because both of them are high quality players," Lancaster added.

"They have both been key figures for us and were for the British and Irish Lions. It's meant we've had to look at other options, which is a good thing in my mind.

"Injuries have created opportunities for people in the past and they've taken them."

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