He was afforded a longer summer off than he was hoping for but Chris Robshaw is eager to prove there is no rust to his game as he leads Harlequins out at Twickenham this Saturday.
As captain for both club and country, Robshaw had more than an eye on being part of Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions touring party that headed Down Under this summer.
However he was not invited to join in the historic series victory and was subsequently left out of England’s trip to Argentina with head coach Stuart Lancaster opting to rest the flanker.
This means that the last time Robshaw saw any competitive action was back in May when he was unable to prevent Quins losing their Aviva Premiership semi-final to eventual champions Leicester Tigers.
But after almost four months waiting like a coiled spring the 27-year-old couldn’t ask for a bigger stage to burst back into action as he leads Harlequins out at Twickenham on Saturday against London Wasps for the second game of the London Double Header.
Last season’s clash saw Quins fight back from 40-13 down to pip Wasps 42-40, and while Robshaw is hoping for a far smoother ride this time around, he admits it will just be nice to be back playing again.
“It’s been very nice actually to have a bit of time off, I managed to have six weeks off which I haven’t had for ages and it was just nice to get away from the game and be properly mentally relaxed,” he said.
“It’s always nice to play at Twickenham especially at the start of the season to get things underway.
“Last year was a little bit too much for the heart I think, but I think that showed the character of the guys, hanging in there when we were so many points down or whatever it was and somehow rescue it.
“But hopefully we can start a bit better. Whether we were complacent or not who knows and we have to make sure we’re on our money this time around.”
Despite last season’s scare Quins have a fine London Double Header record, losing just one of their last six and this going back in 2009 when London Wasps beat them 26-15.
Harlequins have also lost just once in their last seven visits to Twickenham while Wasps have won only one of their last five trips to Rugby HQ.
London Wasps ended last season with eight straight defeats in all competitions but director of rugby Dai Young is adamant his troops will be ready to try and turn their fortunes around this weekend.
“I’ve done two London Double Headers now and the first year we beat Saracens with a great performance. Last season we had a great 60 minutes but Quins came back and won deservedly,” Young said.
“I said at the time that it was only Quins that could have done that because they play rugby whether they are 20 points up or 20 points down.
“This year we’ve worked them harder, we’ve had an extra game as well so we’ve done a lot more contact. So we like to think we’re coming into this game far better prepared than last season. It doesn’t make the game easier but I like to think we’ll go for 80 minutes.”
(Twickenham Stadium, 4.30pm)
Live on BT Sport
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (67th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andrew Pearce. TMO: Sean Davey.
The London Double Header returns to Twickenham on 7 September with two crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: London Irish v Saracens followed by London Wasps v Harlequins. Tickets from ticketmaster.co.uk