Chris Robshaw “pleased I’m going state-side,” amid English rugby civil war

Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw, who will leave Harlequins for San Diego Legion ahead of next year’s Major League Rugby season, has spoken to the media on why he’s making the move, and what it means for him.

Robert Rees brings you the latest from The Stoop.

A home return not ruled out…

“It’s been in my mind a while. It’s one I knew in my body and in my mind and I thought this season I’m playing well, playing 80 minutes so it would be good to venture abroad.

“Myself and my wife have always wanted that opportunity where we could live in a new climate.

“I’m sure at some point in the future we’ll come back this way.”

Move not done for money…

“Finance hasn’t come into it. It’s never got down to that and I’ve never made those decisions based on money. I want to go somewhere new, try out MLR. There’s an unknown quantity to the move.

“If you’re leaving one of the best cities in the world [London], southern California isn’t a bad place to live. I’m told to get a surfboard ready, and it’s different to the hustle and bustle of the tube.”

Chris Robshaw
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 14: A General view of the Twickenham Stoop prior to the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Harlequins and Edinburgh Rugby at Twickenham Stoop on January 14, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Quality lower than Prem…

“It’s not at the level of the Premiership, and from some of the guys I’ve spoken to it’s similar to the Championship, but it’s growing. You’ve got a team like San Diego, with Ma’a Nonu bringing the experience, and hopefully I can do the same.

“Hopefully I can help the next generation of young American players. For us it’s our first sport, playing from five or six, a lot of the guys across there have picked it up later, maybe it’s a second sport they’ve come into, so it’s helping them with finer skills.

“Paul Lasike [American international and Harlequins teammate] has told me about how amazing it’s going to be. It’ll take time to become a dominant force, but that’s because they’ve got to cast that net out in development.

“San Diego have a good following, get good crowds. It’s not as high as most Premiership, but may be better than some of them.”

Robshaw wary of language barriers elsewhere…

“In terms of going to America, it’s English speaking. I’m very dyslexic, and I thought I’d struggle in a foreign language element in terms of immersing yourself in it. You see it over here sometimes.

“I didn’t want to go somewhere and only speak my language and not mix as well.”

Robshaw escapes English rugby civil war

“I’m pretty pleased I’m going state-side, that’s all I’ll say.

“From a club point of view I haven’t been part of it [money talks], I was dealing with a lot of initial stuff, pre-lockdown, but because I’m not there next season, another group is dealing with that. It’s allowed me to relax and get back into training and focus.”

Chris Robshaw
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 23: Mark Wilson (L) Chris Robshaw and Harry Williams (R) celebrate their victory during the third test match between South Africa and England at Newlands Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Barbarians call-up at Twickenham would be dream come true.

“It’ll [fondest memory] definitely be the opportunity to play at Twickenham, and maybe I’ll get a Baa-Baa’s appearance there in the future and enjoy it.”

“For me, even though there probably won’t be crowds there it gives me a chance to close that chapter of my life.”

Robshaw interested in media role…

“That’s [a media role] not part of the plan at the moment, but I’m definitely looking into it. I’ve spoken to Alex Corbisiero, who works with NBC, but he’s more New York based. It’s seeing if there are more opportunities with that stuff.

“It’s still new to a lot of the journalists out there.”

No immediate plans to enter coaching.

“I’ve always thought I didn’t want to go into coaching. I’ve always been happy to coach here and there or do mentoring in training sessions, but to be a full-time coach is hard. To be a great coach you have to love it and dedicate yourself to it.

“I’m very much leaving my opportunities open.”


“Main photo credit”

Chris Robshaw
BATH, ENGLAND – MARCH 02: Chris Robshaw of Harlequins celebrates as he leads the team off the field following their victory during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bath Rugby and Harlequins at the Recreation Ground on March 02, 2019 in Bath, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)