Access to players key for game’s appeal – Robshaw

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England captain Chris Robshaw is anxious that his players never get locked away from the public, despite the growing danger of becoming embroiled in unsavoury incidents.

Chris Ashton required hospital treatment last Saturday night after being glassed by a stranger while he was out with his girlfriend and Saracens team-mates.

Robshaw accepts sportsmen in the spotlight are “more susceptible to these things” but does not want that to alter the fabric of the game.

Harlequins players make a point of mixing with supporters in the bar after home matches and Robshaw spent yesterday coaching youngsters at Drybrook Rugby Club, Gloucestershire.

And he believes rugby as a sport would be worse off if the big-name players became inaccessible to the public, as many footballers are.

“We are out there in the spotlight and unfortunately you do get good things and bad things,” Robshaw said. “What people love about rugby is that they can still see you after a game – that’s the beauty of the sport, that we are connected (with the public).

“As soon as you lose that touch and isolate the players, it wouldn’t be great for the game.”

“The amount of people who get pleasure from having the odd interaction with players from time to time, in the street or in a restaurant or in a pub, far outweighs the odd bad incident.

“I think that as rugby players we need to be seen and that’s what people love about the sport. And players love that they can still go out and enjoy themselves.

“You don’t want to be locked away at home and told you can’t go out with your friends or your girlfriend, that you can’t go to the theatre or wherever because someone might do something.”