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At 33, I'm desperate to set the World to rights; RUGBY UNION; ROBSHAW DREAMS OF MAKING AMENDS FOR 2015 CUP DISASTER ON HOME SOIL.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY ALEX SPINK Rugby Correspondent @alexspinkmirror

THE clock is ticking for Chris Robshaw and the reminders are all around.

Soon he will turn 33, reach 300 appearances for his club and complete a dozen years in English rugby's top flight.

The anniversary of his most recent England cap will come into view, followed soon after by the first World Cup since the side he captained came so spectacularly to grief.

Robshaw has much he still wants to achieve, but not much time left in which to do it. So when Harlequins boss Paul Gustard this week challenged his side to "dare to be great" and stop a potentially ruinous losing run, the warrior flanker did not need to be asked twice.

"I'm hungrier now than I was when I was 21," he said. "But time is no longer my friend. At 21 you take things for granted. You play in a semi-final but don't win - no worries, there'll be another one.

"You get a bit older and you realise you don't have as many opportunities as you would like any more. It makes you more hungry. I'm pushing the boundaries in training, pushing my body.

"My ambition is to make Quins successful again, but also to make that World Cup squad.

"Having missed the majority of the season, I'm dying to get back in and fighting my hardest.

"Righting the wrongs of 2015 is still my mentality. That World Cup was tough for me, a dark time in my life. It's not a scar that will ever leave me. It's one I'll always wear." As recently as last month Robshaw was all smiles. Finally over knee surgery, he was recalled to England's squad.

The same week Quins looked certainties to reach the play-offs for the first time in five years. The Londoners then lost four in a row. Make it five today at runaway leaders Exeter and they could well be out of the top four.

Behind Robshaw a slogan flashes up on a screen at the club's training HQ. "Five games to make history," it reads. "If not us, who? If not now, when? Dare to be great!"

That is Gustard all over. Since he took charge last summer, Quins have gone from ragtag bunch to a force to be taken seriously. But consistency remains their Achilles heel.

"Mentally you all have to be on it every single day, every single week, you can't pick and choose," said Robshaw.

"I've seen a relegation and a title triumph here and once you've scaled the mountain you realise how hard you've got to work to stay there. That's why I've so much respect for the likes of Saracens and Exeter."

Quins' fate does not depend on winning in Devon. But they must replicate the fight they showed in Clermont last week. Quins rallied from 32-8 down and were pushing for victory, just five points behind, when the final whistle went.

NEWCASTLE'S relegation woes deepened despite a spirited fightback against NORTHAMPTON. Wing Tom Collins scored a first-half hat-trick as Saints raced into a 24-3 lead.

Bottom club Falcons then reduced the deficit to 24-17, before a last-minute try sealed a 31-17 win for Saints.

In the night's other game, SALE edged BATH 6-3.

ROBSHAW FACTFILE

CLUB Harlequins, 272 games COUNTRY England, 66 caps HIGHS + Two-time Premiership Player of the Year + Scored winning try in 2012 Grand Final v Leicester + Captained England 43 times LOWS + Never led England to a Grand Slam in the Six Nations + His England team became the first host nation to fail to reach knockout stages of a World Cup in 2015

, g PWDLF ABPts Exeter 19 15 0 4 566 364 17 77 Saracens 19 14 0 5 546 388 12 68 Gloucester 19 12 1 6 498 423 10 60 Northampton 20 10 0 10 531 471 11 51 Harlequins 19 9 0 10 481 465 14 50 Sale 20 10 19 396 443 6 48 Wasps 19 9 0 10 425 467 11 47 Bath 2082104204321046 Bristol 19 7 0 12 441 528 13 41 Leicester 19 7 0 12 408 554 10 38 Worcester 19 7 0 12 423 470 9 37 Newcastle 20 60 14 364 494 6 30 GALLAGHER TABLE

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I'M STILL STANDING Stalwart Robshaw is nearing 300 appearances for Quins
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 27, 2019
Words:722
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