On the day that Chris Robshaw, the former Warlingham rugby club youth player, was named as England captain for the forthcoming autumn internationals, the RFU also announced that to strengthen the bond between the international game and its grassroots, a youngster from the 2012 WRFC under-12s side will accompany the national side’s skipper as he runs out at Twickenham on November 24.
Archie McMillan, from Sanderstead, plays as a flank forward in the Warlingham junior side.
He will accompany Robshaw ahead of the international against South Africa. The 11-year-old Trinity schoolboy, just as Robshaw did, started playing rugby with the Hamsey Green when just a six-year-old.
O2, as a long-standing partner of the RFU, is also inviting McMillan to watch England at its training base at Pennyhill Park next Monday. Not only will he be able to see the England squad train, but he will also meet the players afterwards.
“Chris Robshaw played in Warlingham’s under-12s, the same as Archie does now,” said Frank Wright, Warlingham RFC’s coaching co-ordinator and chairman of minis.
“Archie is also a flanker and he is one of three boys who joined together as under-7s. They have all been good lads, staying with the club ever since that time. We put their three names in a hat for the prize, Archie’s was the lucky one drawn out.
“Chris’s connection with Warlingham is a great boost to our recruitment of young players and everyone at our club is proud of what he has achieved with Harlequins and England.”
Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach, said: “The England players take the responsibility of representing the country very seriously, on and off the field. They feel they represent not just themselves, but also their family, friends and all those that have helped them on their journey.”
Robshaw has enjoyed the greatest year of his career in the past 12 months, captaining England for the first time and leading his club, Harlequins, to the English Premiership title. The Harlequins skipper has led his country in all but one of eight Tests under Lancaster.
“It’s a real honour to be asked again,” Robshaw said last night once Lancaster had checked on his squad’s fitness and made his decisions.
“I enjoyed being captain in the RBS 6 Nations and in South Africa and this is a great group of players who really want to be successful. We have a huge opportunity to put a marker down over the next few weeks and just from training this morning you can see how keen the boys are to play.”
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