On a dreary afternoon at home in Notting Hill, the former England rugby captain is proving himself to be a bit of a multitasker. As we warm up by chatting about mutual friends and his newfound penchant for cowboy boots and hats, there’s a noise from the room next door.
“One sec,” he says, holding up a finger and listening intently. “I’ll be right back.” His four-month-old son, Wilding, has woken from his nap early and is eager to get in on the action of our video call. Just as he enters the fray, in classic FOMO fashion Robshaw’s dog jumps up to be involved as well. With his wife, classical singer Camilla Kerslake, back working today, the 35-year-old is holding the fort and from the look on his face, he’s a natural and is loving every minute of it.
Now, where were we?
It's been quite a crazy year for you, leaving Harlequins, becoming a father – how are you finding the adjustment?
With Quins, I just felt like mentally it was the right time to move on. I was the oldest one in my position by about eight years and it was just evolving. It was definitely tough to say goodbye but very nicely, the club have actually named a bar after me. I'm going back next weekend to officially open it. I went over to America to play and we ended up in Vegas for a bit. Then of course, had a baby over there, which is pretty incredible.
Tell us about the decision to go over to play in San Diego.
So many of my friends spoke so highly about living abroad, just for a year or two, and the experience it gives you. I've only been there for six months but it helped me try and plan for what's next. As rugby players we can’t do nothing for the rest of our lives, we have to go and start another career, and when all you've ever wanted to do is play rugby, you have to kind of reinvent yourself. Of course, we had the little man here and it allowed us that really important period to bond together like a family. It definitely brought us closer.
Do you feel like there’s a more can-do positive ethos in the US compared to the more reserved British approach?
Yeah, the positivity they have is phenomenal. When I first went I was almost like, “Are they taking the mick?” But no, they're not. They want to big you up and support you, they want to be nice about things. For example, I remember one of the guys over there did an engagement shoot, with slightly cheesy photos, all that kind of stuff. I'm sure you've been in WhatsApp groups with your friends, someone would get hold of it and you'll probably get a little bit of stick. Over there, they put the messages on the group themselves to say, "Oh, what do you think of my pictures?" And everyone's like, “Oh, my god. You look amazing. How great this is.” That for me, was such a contrasting style of how the English versus the Americans especially in rugby circles would operate...
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Chris Robshaw on the cover of Man About Town's AW21 issue.