Chris Robshaw handed British and Irish Lions boost as he returns from injury two weeks ahead of scheule

Jack de Menezes
The Independent
Chris Robshaw is set to return for Harlequins this weekend: Getty
Chris Robshaw is set to return for Harlequins this weekend: Getty

Chris Robshaw will return for Harlequins this weekend, two weeks ahead of schedule, to give his British and Irish Lions chances a boost ahead of Warren Gatland’s squad announcement.

Robshaw will be named in the Quins squad that takes on Newcastle on Saturday, according to The Mirror, meaning that the former England captain will have three weeks to prove hit fitness to Gatland after missing the entire Six Nations championship with a shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old underwent surgery on his left shoulder after suffering the blow in the New Year’s Day 24-17 defeat by Worcester Warriors, with the prognosis putting him on the sidelines for four months, ruling him out of the Six Nations and making the flanker a serious doubt for the Lions squad.

But having recovered two weeks early, Robshaw looks set to be named in the squad for the clash against Newcastle when the team is announced on Friday, and should he come through the match unscathed he will have the games against Saracens and Exeter Chiefs to show Gatland that he warrants a place in his squad to face the All Blacks.

After missing the 2013 tour when Gatland omitted the then-England captain, Rosbahw’s form since moving to blindside flanker looked to have guaranteed him a place in the touring party. But the shoulder injury put his chances back in jeopardy, and the impressive form of fellow blindside flankers Sam Warburton, Maro Itoje, CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony leaves Robshaw on the outside staring in once again.

The Harlequins head coach, Mark Mapletoft, praised Robshaw for hitting the ground running after he returned to training to continue his recovery from the injury. “England missed Chris and his unseen graft in the Six Nations. He is an unbelievable professional,” he said. “The guy is relentless.

"He’s been sidelined for a substantial amount of time but in his first training session back with us you’d never have known he’d been out. That’s the sign of a really top drawer player.”

Robshaw may benefit from the fact that the Harlequins forwards coach, Graham Rowntree, will once again be a part of Gatland’s backroom staff for the tour of New Zealand, and will be able to oversee his return to action first-hand before reporting back to the New Zealander.

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