LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - It was easy to forget Chris Robshaw is still a relative international novice on Sunday as the England captain marshalled his troops in the driving rain for a first win against Ireland in Dublin for 10 years.
The 26-year-old flanker masterminded a clinical England display, demonstrating in the 12-6 Six Nations win leadership qualities that full back Mike Brown said always marked him out as a captain.
Team mates at Harlequins, Brown and Robshaw emerged together through the England academy.
“It’s funny, when we were in the academy together we were asked who in the academy would be a future captain and we all picked Chris - now he’s England captain,” Brown told reporters at the launch of a touch rugby scheme in London’s east end.
”He has stayed pretty much the same. He works hard on and off the pitch. He’s a brilliant leader and does exactly what he does for Quins. It’s great to have a leader like that.
“He sets things up and you just follow. When he needs to say something he will. I’ve known him since 18 and he’s a great bloke. But he also has a lot of leaders in the squad to help him out and he appreciates that.”
Robshaw had only one senior cap to his name when Stuart Lancaster appointed him as captain before last year’s Six Nations but a year on is regarded as the man to lead England towards the next World Cup on home soil.
He made an immediate impact as England won four out of five and enhanced his reputation further when England outplayed world champions New Zealand in December.
“It shows the type of bloke he is that he can step up and lead the team after just one cap,” Brown said.
“He’s a world class player and he’s shown that recently.”
Robshaw’s next task will be to ward off any sense of complacency ahead of England’s home match with France on Feb. 23, although Brown said that would not be difficult.
Unpredictable France have lost both their opening matches, away to Italy and home to Wales, but will be fired-up for the Twickenham clash.
”France haven’t had the best of starts but they are a brilliant team on their day and can beat anybody in the world,“ he said. ”Look how many times they’ve beaten New Zealand when people had written them off.
“They will be a wounded animal and that makes them very dangerous and they will want to turn us over on our home patch.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Justin Palmer)