Robshaw hoping for French win

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Chris Robshaw hopes France can do England a favour Chris Robshaw hopes France can do England a favour

France may have destroyed England's Grand Slam ambitions but Chris Robshaw insists they will have his team's full support when they face Ireland.

Saturday's climax to the RBS 6 Nations begins in Rome where England will be seeking to overwhelm Italy and strengthen their claim to the title in what has become a three-way shootout.

The focus will then be on Ireland's visit to Paris - where they have prevailed just once since 1972 - with Robshaw and his team-mates glued to a match that will have decisive ramifications on their own fate.

If England win in Rome, the title will be decided by points difference with either Ireland or France - who clash at the Stade de France - also competing for the crown.

"For us Italy is a championship-deciding game and it's very exciting," Robshaw said.

"We've got to control what we can with our own performance and then we'll be like every other fan in the country cheering on the French."

Six weeks ago England endured an agonising 26-24 defeat at the Stade de France, but have since posted impressive wins against Scotland, Ireland and Wales to propel them into title contention on the final day.

Had Les Blues not been blessed with kind bounces of the ball that led to two early tries and the individual brilliance of Gael Fickou, the Red Rose would have been playing for the Grand Slam at the Stadio Olimpico.

Fickou's late try will forever haunt this England team and their head coach Stuart Lancaster, but Robshaw takes consolation from the resilience shown in the aftermath of such a gut-wrenching loss.

"The bounce of the ball went against us," said Robshaw, the Harlequins and England captain

"It can be very cruel at times but then it can be brilliant for you as well. Unfortunately on that day it went against us

"To concede a try within the first minute and then another shortly after from kicks is tough, but that's the way it goes. We've reacted well.

"We've put ourselves in a position to win the Six Nations and we've learnt from what happened in Paris - look at our ability to close out the game against Ireland.

"It's been a massive test of character to bounce back and actually go out there and put ourselves into contention, that's what we've done.

"We've had to take points off other teams. We've had to hold our ground at our own place and perform well.

"So we did learn a lesson from there but, of course, we'll always look back at that game now and ask 'what-if?'.

"But we can't, there's no point. It's not going to do anything for us. We've just got to focus on Italy this weekend."

If the title is decided by points difference, Ireland have established a near-unassailable position as they have amassed 49 more than England.

Robshaw has cautioned against arriving in Rome with the goal of swamping Italy, pointing to Harlequins' experience in the 2011-12 season of the Heineken Cup when they missed out on the quarter-finals because of their ambition.

"We went to Connacht in the Heineken Cup and Toulouse went to Gloucester," he said.

"We thought we would need a bonus-point win to win, but Toulouse actually lost. If we had won the game by taking our kicks and not chasing the game we would have gone through.

"The perception inside the camp is that Italy is going to be a very tough game.

"We know exactly how tough this is going to be. The attacking rugby they are playing has come on in leaps and bounds and I'm sure will test our defence."

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