Leonard: "Chris leads from the front and by example. The great captains I’ve played under – like Martin Johnson – do that"
British & Irish Lions hero Jason Leonard has likened England skipper Chris Robshaw to legendary Lions and England captain Martin Johnson.
Johnson, a three-time Lions tourist, lifted the World Cup for England in 2003 having won a Lions series as captain in South Africa in 1997.
The 42-year-old former Leicester Tigers lock led the Lions to a 2-1 series win over the Springboks having never captained his country prior to being handed the honour.
Robshaw is still in his fledgling years as England captain, but has already led the team to notable wins over New Zealand, Ireland and France.
And Leonard reckons Lions coach Warren Gatland could do worse than look in the Kingston-based player’s direction when choosing his man.
He said: “He has to be in the mix.
“He leads from the front and by example. The great captains I’ve played under – like Martin Johnson – do that.
“They are the guys you want to put your body on the line for because you know they would do everything and more for you.”
Robshaw, England’s leading ball carrier on the day, delivered his second successive Six Nations man-of-the-match performance as his side edged past France 23-13 at Twickenham last Saturday.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster praised the impact of all his second half substitutions, of which Quins scrum-half Danny Care impressed by giving his side much needed impetus in the closing 20 minutes.
But it was captain Robshaw who did most to get his side over the line and again do his Lions prospects little harm.
Lancaster said: “He was outstanding. Him and Tom Wood in the back row in the last 10 or 15 minutes were everywhere.
“They were like rocks in the side and it was what we built our game around.
“Chris was outstanding, not only for his leadership, but also his ability to make correct decisions under pressure, as a player as well as a captain, is a great testament to him.”
Quins number eight Nick Easter, currently out of the England reckoning, gave his Lions chances a boost with an impressive display in his club’s 30-21 win at struggling Sale Sharks on Friday night.
A Tom Williams try and eight points from Ben Botica gave Quins a 13-7 advantage at the break before Easter and Charlie Matthews went over after the break to make the game safe.
Director of rugby Conor O’Shea said: “It was a huge win for us, especially with the players we were missing.
“These are the games that are important, so we are absolutely chuffed to bits.”
Quins host Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.