Lancaster delays England captaincy decision

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says he will wait until later this month before naming his captain for England’s Internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

Flankers Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood are reported to be the front-runners for the role, ahead of the beginning of a training camp in the northern English city of Leeds on October 21.

“We have two big European weekends and I’ve consistently said you must select on form and fitness first. Injuries also play a part,” Lancaster said.

“Equally, there’s no need to announce a captain early when it might influence what you’re thinking selection-wise.

“If you name the captain early then you’re pretty much ruling out everybody else playing in that position and I want to keep competition for places high.”

Lancaster, whose side open their end-of-year campaign against Australia at Twickenham on November 2, says the importance of the captaincy is inaccurately inflated by the media.

“It’s about having a really strong leadership group, because it’s an outdated model where you have one person who has sole responsibility for everyone,” he said.

“All senior players have a role to play in the on-field decision-making. It will be an important announcement, but the most important thing is to have that strength of leadership across the field.”

Lancaster will go into the matches without injured centres Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi.

Billy Twelvetrees is expected to take over at number 12, with Jonathan Joseph, Joel Tomkins and Henry Trinder competing for the right to partner him.

“To lose Brad and Manu in the space of a week was disappointing because both of them are high-quality players,” Lancaster said.

“They have both been key figures for us and were British and Irish Lions. It’s meant we’ve had to look at other options, which is a good thing in my mind.

“Injuries have created opportunities for people in the past and they’ve taken them.”

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