San Diego Legion Signs Chris Robshaw

According to The Guardian, former England captain Chris Robshaw signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Legion through the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 34-year-old flanker is 6’2″ and 243 lbs and was thought to have been leaning to signing with Rugby United New York according to The Guardian. In February he flew to Manhattan to meet coaches, owners, and supporters.

Chris was born in Redhill, United Kingdom, and grew up with his two brothers in a single-family home under the care of his mother Patricia, after the death of his father when he was 5. He attended Cumnor House School of Boys, the Millfield School, and the Millfield Preparatory School, the latter in which he was the first team captain. He also attended the University of Roehampton London.

Chris began playing rugby with Warlingham RFC when he was seven years old. He played with England Schools U18s in 2004 and made his first-team debut in the 2005-06 season. In 2006 he played with England U21s in the Six Nations Championship and in the U21 Rugby World Championship.

He made his senior rugby debut with the Harlequins in 2005 and has continued with the team until the end of the 2019-2020 season after agreeing to complete the coronavirus-delayed 2019-20 season with the Harlequins before joining the San Diego Legion in 2021 and 2022.

The 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season was first suspended in light of the coronavirus pandemic on March 15th, seeing the Premiership-winning Harlequin denied the opportunity to play during the last four months of his contract. However, Robshaw will continue to lead Harlequins as the Club sees out the current Premiership campaign.

Chris spoke about his contract extension saying “It’s great news personally to know I will have the chance to play my final game for my boyhood club. The pandemic has affected so many aspects of so many peoples’ lives, I’m just grateful to the Club for allowing me the opportunity to finish my final season with Harlequins.”

“For me, this is a special team, with a special fanbase to whom I owe so much. I’m confident I can speak for the entire team in saying we’re looking forward to giving our fans something to scream and shout about again after a long absence.”

Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard said: “We are delighted we are in a position to extend Robbo’s contract to assist us as we look to finish the season, and Chris’ career with Harlequins, on a high.

“Chris is not only one of the most significant players in Harlequins’ rich history, but he is also a brilliant human being who deserves the opportunity to add to his 290+ appearances and lead the team to the end of the season. He has been, and will continue to be, a superb ambassador for the game of rugby and will rightly be remembered as one of the greatest players that ever wore the famous quarters.”

Chris played for the England Saxons team that won the 2008 Churchill Cup and went on to play for England against the Barbarians in 2009 before making his earning the first of his 66 caps (all starts) for England against Argentina on 13 June, 2009 in Salta. The last of his test matches was on Jun 23, 2018, against South Africa.

Thirty of these tests were in Five/Six Nations and four in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Chris was also the team captain from 2012 through 2015 and his 43 appearances as captain are first in the professional era and second to Will Carling, who had 59.

Chris helped the Harlequins win the 2010-11 Challenge Cup and in 2011-12 the team won their first Premiership title. He was a team captain, as well as the Club Vice President, and won Premiership in Player of the Year honors twice in 2008/09 and in 2011/12.

The Guardian article quoted Robshaw in signing with the Legion that “Each season the MLR has grown and advanced its reputation in professional rugby circles. I have been looking at my options to play in the MLR over the last 12 months and there have been plenty of rumors about where I might play.

“In the end, it really was an obvious and easy choice for me. In a short period of time, SD Legion has built a reputation as being a world-class organisation. I am very excited [about]being part of that organisation and helping continue to advance its reputation both on and off the field.”

The San Diego Legion was the only undefeated MLR team in 2020 with five wins. The Legion reached the MLR championship game in 2019, the league’s second season, losing to the two-time champions Seattle Seawolves.

This past season, the team added two-time Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks center Ma’a Nonu and will add former England captain Robshaw next year.

Darren Gardner, an Australian with roots in the Eastern Suburbs club in Sydney, told the Guardian that “We’re very focused on building a world-class organisation and part of that is having world-class players. Few of those could have a bigger name and a bigger impact than Chris Robshaw.”

“Gardner said Robshaw would by his presence alone help develop talent both in the squad and in youth rugby in the a catchment area which includes Old Mission Beach Atheltic Club, or OMBAC, a power of the US game.”


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant