John Kingston, Harlequins director of rugby, has tipped Chris Robshaw to make a late challenge for a Lions spot as the England flanker makes his return after three months out with a shoulder injury against Newcastle tomorrow.
Robshaw missed the entire Six Nations after suffering the injury on New Year’s Day but will start at blindside flanker at The Stoop as Quins look to secure a top six spot.
With Warren Gatland naming his 37-man squad on April 19, Robshaw has just three games to prove his form and fitness, but Kingston is adamant the former England captain is just the type of character the Lions need in New Zealand.
“Chris Robshaw, to my mind, is someone who surely must be in the shake-up for Lions representation,” said Kingston. “He has been out for the last few months but I am not so sure that should hold against him. For me he is an integral part of that England team.
“He will be fresh now having had that break and it will be intriguing to see how he performs over the rest of the season. I can’t believe he would have been ruled out yet.
“I don’t think like a player like him will be forgotten by Warren. He is going to want competitors, he is going to want winners down in New Zealand more than anything, and mentally [players] who believe they can win and Chris Robshaw falls into that category.”
And Kingston believes Robshaw’s reaction to England’s failure at the 2015 World Cup shows why he should be heading to New Zealand.
“You see what people are about in adversity,” he added. “We are all very good when things are going well – he took that very hard, very personally, in terms of the failure of England in that World Cup.
“He dealt with it unbelievably well and he has actually grown as a person over the last 15 months. He has been terrific, so professional, and he took the injury face on. I am sure his name will cross the thoughts of the selectors over the coming weeks.”