RUGBY UNION: New Captain Robinson Makes England History; Ex-League Hero Stands in for Jonny

Article excerpt

Byline: RUGBY UNION By ANDREW BALDOCK

JASON ROBINSON last night insisted he had no hesitation in accepting the England captaincy.

The 30-year-old will make history when he leads the side out to face Canada at Twickenham on Saturday as the first black player, and first former rug by league international, to skipper England.

Robinson's ``fantastic job'' in leading Sale Sharks to the Zurich Premiership summit was also revealed as a major reason behind his appointment for England's autumn Test series opener.

The former Wigan and Great Britain star, who takes over from an injured Jonny Wilkinson, could remain in charge when Andy Robinson's new-look England face far tougher appointments against Tri Nations champions South Africa and World Cup runners-up Australia later this month.

Wilkinson, who was named as England captain last month, is battling to recover from an upper-arm problem.

``There have been many highlights in my rug by career, and being England captain is certainly one of them, '' said Robinson, who leads a team containing one new cap, his Sharks colleague, wing Mark Cueto.

``It is not something I have deliberately sought with England or Sale, but I am enjoying being captain at my club and I am understandably excited at the prospect of being England captain at Twickenham on Saturday.

``I have been blessed with success in my rug by career, and I am grateful for that. But when new challenges such as the captaincy come along, I have no hesitation in accepting. ''

Bath pair Mike Tindall and Steve Borthwick were also thought to be in the running, but Tindall will be vice-captain and Borthwick England's probable pack leader.

``Jason is an outstanding member of the England team, who has led by example for the three years he has been playing international rug by union, '' said new England coach Andy Robinson.

``He has an exceptional record, not only in this sport but in rug by league, earning him the respect of the whole squad. …