Chris Robshaw, England and Harlequins back-row forward, always gets a tremendous cheer when he runs out at Twickenham.
He has won popularity with the fans and, more importantly, impressed head coach Eddie Jones.
Very much at home in the number 6 jersey, Robshaw could, if called upon, handle open-side duties.
With Sam Underhill out after a second concussion this season and Tom Curry recovering from a wrist injury, Jones is deciding who will pull on the No 7 jersey this weekend.
“We might have to get the six-and-a half jersey out again for Chris Robshaw,” he grinned. “Or we can play Maro Itoje there. We can experiment with it because in a World Cup we might have to do that. Sam Simmonds also comes into consideration. I was really impressed with him. It is a great opportunity for us.”
What’s certain is that Robshaw has earned his coach’s respect and contributed much to the fact that England have won all 12 of their home Tests since Jones took charge.
Robshaw is delighted that visiting teams are finding ‘Fortress Twickenham’ a challenging place to play.
“You always want your home ground to be a tough place for the opposition to come to and if we can make Twickenham a fortress again that will be great,” he says.
And the Jones regime suits him. Robshaw seems comfortable with being uncomfortable as Jones demands.
“Midweek we are training like it’s a Test match, which makes Saturday that much easier. Eddie‘s mind-set is to train harder than you play,” he says.
“He gives you the confidence to go out there and perform. You want to be on the front foot, especially at home.
“The management are always looking for small improvements, they don’t do things without a reason but are always looking to get marginal gains. The big goal is being in the best possible shape for the 2019 World Cup.”
Tries, tries glorious tries
It was at Twickenham against Australia in 2013 that Robshaw scored the first of two Test tries, the second coming in Italy in 2014.
The flanker says his first try “won’t make any highlight reels. We’d been aiming to put pressure on this lineout. The ball got charged down and luckily bobbled to me about 30 centimetres out. It was hardly spectacular but I’ll take it!”
It’s a self-effacing style that typifies Robshaw, who tends to do his talking on the pitch.
If selected, there will be plenty to keep him on his toes on Saturday. As Eddie Jones says: “Traditionally Samoans have always wanted to hit hard and this match becomes a great dress rehearsal for Tonga in the World Cup, it will be a similar game plan."You can never underestimate the quality of an island side."
“We know that when the Samoans play at Twickenham they get excited. We need to be right on the job.
“You can never underestimate the quality of an island side. They’ve got this unique collection of physicality and athleticism, so you can never take them for granted. It’s important to keep island rugby strong because they bring a uniqueness to the game as they’ve got these fantastic natural skills that, when galvanised together, produce a game that no-one else can play.
“We’re treating this as a very important Test and we need to be at our absolute best.”
Absolute best is what Robshaw will be seeking at Fortress Twickenham on Saturday.