I'm a rugby legend who captained England - you won't believe how much my first deal was worth

Chris Robshaw (third from left) celebrates England winning the Grand Slam at the 2016 Six Nations
-Credit: (Image: Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Former England captain Chris Robshaw has revealed the paltry wage he earned from his first contract.

Robshaw spent the majority of his rugby career with Harlequins, guiding the club to their first Premiership title in 2012. The flanker joined Quins’ academy and rose through the ranks, spending 15 years as part of the first team and twice winning Premiership Player of the Year.

The 38-year-old decided to hang up his boots in 2022 after spending the final two years of his illustrious career with San Diego Legion. However, the ex-England skipper enjoyed a humble start to his playing days, having recalled marvelling at his first wages as a teenager.

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“I got picked up by 17, left school at 18, went into the academy system,” Robshaw told Matt Haycox. “My first year, I remember I got my contract was £4,000 a year, and I thought I'd made it. It was £333 a month, and it was brilliant. I’m earning playing rugby, it’s absolutely incredible.”

It is an extraordinary sum considering that the flanker would go on to captain England at a World Cup and win the Six Nations. However, rugby had been a vital outlet for Robshaw throughout his childhood as he struggled with dyslexia at school.

“Sport became that kind of happiness. It became that escape from the classroom.” Robshaw explained. “It became a place where I gained confidence and structure and all that kind of stuff. And I got a little bit older, I got a little bit bigger, and of course, a bit of size in rugby is always good”

Robshaw, who started his career at Warlingham RFC, enjoyed remarkable success throughout his playing days, including being named captain in only his second England cap. He credits his dyslexia with helping him thrive as a leader, on and off the pitch, as it enabled Robshaw to think of different ways to communicate with his teammates.

“You learn to deal with things. You learn to adapt with things,” Robshaw continued. “With dyslexia, it really helped me think differently because certain ways of thinking don’t always apply.

“When you’re in a team environment, manager or captain, a lot of it is player management. It’s understanding people and how to get a message across to you. I might get a message across to you a certain way but the next person won’t understand the message how I’ve relayed it to you so I have to think of something completely different.

“With stuff like dyslexia, you get a little bit more creative with your approaches because you have to think a little bit more outside the box.”