Robinson backs Yarde for England

Jason Robinson believes that Marland Yarde could play a major role at the World Cup

Jason Robinson believes that Marland Yarde could play a major role at the World Cup

First published in National Sport © by

Jason Robinson believes new Harlequins signing Marland Yarde is in the perfect position to win the "shootout" for a place on the wing for England at Rugby World Cup 2015.

Robinson, who scored a try in the final as England won the World Cup in 2003, believes the two wing berths remain the most open selection challenges facing England boss Stuart Lancaster.

The former Sale flyer conceded there are still "question-marks" over England's best back-three line-up for next year's home World Cup.

Mike Brown has nailed down the full-back berth, but Robinson believes Yarde and Chris Ashton still face fierce wing competition from Christian Wade, Jack Nowell, Jonny May and Anthony Watson.

"Wing is probably one of the most open positions," the 40-year-old told Press Association Sport.

"As an international wing finishing a try is a given, it's the other basics that count, and we still don't have as much experience as we would have liked there at this stage.

"There are still a lot of question-marks for Stuart Lancaster.

"We've certainly got some good wings, but we just need consistency.

"The autumn matches are really when you are judged I think as a player, because you are playing against the world's best.

"If you're playing well you'll get the headlines, you'll see who's on form and who's not.

"Stuart will have an idea of the six guys he's got his eyes on, and it's a shootout now frankly."

Yarde recovered from hip tendon trouble to tour New Zealand in the summer, scoring twice in England's three Test defeats.

The 22-year-old left boyhood club London Irish this summer for Aviva Premiership rivals Harlequins, with Robinson tipping that move to help cement his World Cup berth.

"Harlequins are a great team to watch, with guys like Mike Brown and a lot of other England players there," said Robinson, speaking at a Land Rover event.

"Quins like to play, and he should get a lot of opportunities at Quins, and he should be in the spotlight a lot more.

"I think it's a great move for him, he's now just got to really set the bar high and go all-out.

"He's great with ball in hand, he's one of the best attackers in the English game.

"If he can just work a little bit harder on his defence, I don't mean physically, sometimes positionally.

"Not many people will get round Marland Yarde because he's so quick, so you've got to get your positioning right.

"He's at a great place with some great coaches, and playing in that back-three will only bring his game on.

"And it's a great time for that to happen, leading into the World Cup year."

Robinson has teamed up with Land Rover to assist the Premiership Rugby HITZ programme, designed to help disadvantaged young people find routes back into education and employment.

Former British and Irish Lions wing Robinson believes England's stars will enter uncharted territory when the new Premiership season kicks off on Friday, September 5.

Robinson said the build-up campaign to a home World Cup will be like nothing that has gone before.

"For the young lads though there's never been a better time to do it," he said.

"If there's ever a time to get out and play your best rugby, it's in the build-up to a home World Cup - w hat an opportunity.

"To go into a World Cup on form and playing well, there's no better feeling.

"And to chase that prize at home, that's going to be incredible.

"As long as the players understand the effort that's going to take between now and World Cup time, that's what's going to count.

"This isn't a normal season: this will be like nothing that's gone before.

"Going back to 2003 we wanted to be the best prepared, the fittest, the strongest, the fastest, the smartest, and the guys have got to make so many sacrifices between now and the World Cup.

"I just hope that those guys can do it as well."

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