Quins' Robson is after England chance in 2013

Learning curve: Youngster like Will Collier, centre, have benefited from the experience of the likes of George Robson, right

Learning curve: Youngster like Will Collier, centre, have benefited from the experience of the likes of George Robson, right

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

George Robson may have lifted the Premiership title in May, but the Harlequins lock will look back at 2012 with a sense of frustration and has an England cap on his new year wish list.

The 27-year-old is in the prime of his rugby life and firmly established as director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s second row of choice at the Stoop since making his first team debut in 2006.
 

Last season’s trophy winning success led to a place in the England squad for the summer tour to South Africa where the England Saxon  captained the midweek team to impressive wins over South Africa Northern and Southern Barbarians.
 

Robson was involved in the senior squad for the autumn international series as injury cover, but was not granted the chance to make his international debut.
 

But the Bromsgrove-born star is out to put that right in 2013 and he knows a good performance in tomorrow’s Big Game 5 clash with London Irish at Twickenham will only help his cause.
 

“The autumn was a little frustrating to be honest,” he said.
 

“It was great to be training  with the senior squad again but I thought I’d been putting in the performances in training and playing pretty good stuff in the Premiership to show I’m ready to step up.
 

“I want to play international rugby, but I have to earn the right to do that.
 

“This Saturday will be a huge game for us as a team and as players.
 

“It is good to put yourself under pressure to perform with a big crowd bearing down on you.  It is a big stage and a pressured environment.”
 

Robson graduated from the famed Quins academy six years ago and is committed to the club until 2015, having emerged as a key leader in O’Shea’s pack.
 

Injuries have meant he has had young Charlie Matthews for company in the second row on occasions this season and Robson has been impressed with what he has seen.
 

“We never make any excuses if we lose players to injury or international call-ups because we have the talent and strength in depth to cope,” he added.

"Guys like Charlie Matthews and Will Collier have done really well.
 

“I mentor Charlie and give him a few tips and bits to work on, but even I can’t take the credit for how has done.
 

“He has come in and been on the money every time.”
 

* Quins won an Aviva Premiership kicking contest at Northampton Saints 18-9 at the weekend, with Nick Evans converting six penalties for O’Shea’s men. Quins remain top of the table, one point ahead of Saracens.

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