Chris Robshaw says he’s pleased to be escaping English rugby’s civil war to become a California beach boy.
The former England captain has signed a two-year deal to headline for San Diego Legion in the US – and been told to pack a surf board.
The move will get him away from the Premiership club scene and the bitter fallout between players’ union and club owners intent on cutting wages in order to weather the financial storm.
Robshaw said: “I’m pretty pleased I'm going Stateside – that’s all I can say. I imagine all this is going to take a bit of time to play out.”
The 34-year old will finish the rescheduled season with Harlequins, having agreed a short-term contract extension with his lifelong club.
He will then head to America’s west coast with classical singer wife Camilla Kerslake in search of fresh opportunities, likely to include media work.
The 66-times capped flanker insists there are no parallels between his move and the switch to LA made by football ‘missionary’ David Beckham in 2007.
“If I can help players develop, great,” he said. “But I’m looking to have a good experience, as much fun off the field as on it.”
Robshaw is pretty sure he won’t be the last to jump ship and head abroad as rugby struggles for a way out of the economic crisis which has forced it to its knees.
George Kruis, Alex Goode, Freddie Burns and Hadleigh Parkes are, for example, all bound for Japan – leaving behind a British game in which wages are falling as the workload rises.
“I definitely think that (the situation at the moment) will open everything up,” said Surrey-born Robshaw, who will play alongside All Blacks great Ma’a Nonu for Major League Rugby’s only unbeaten team.
Asked if six-month seasons are more attractive than the gruelling 11-month campaign demanded of UK players, he replied: “Potentially yes.
“The next 12 months to two years will be a very interesting time for rugby with everything that’s going on. Every week we are told something different. We are going to have to be very patient and feel our way through it.
“Everyone wants their piece of the pie, everyone wants their games and at the moment no-one is willing to budge,” he added, referring to unresolved negotiations between club and international game.
“The number of games does need to be looked at. What the right number is, no-one knows. But it is not for me to worry about too much.”
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