Former England captain Chris Robshaw says a desire to expand his horizons was behind his move from Harlequins to San Diego Legion in the United States.
“I’ve lived in south-west London kind of area my whole life, having been at Harlequins a boy and a man,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast. “I just wanted a new life experience really.”
Robshaw said his mum initially thought he had switched to American Football.
“She asked ‘are you going over there to play English rugby or American rugby?'” Robshaw explained.
“I asked her what she meant and she says ‘you know, with all the pads and the helmets’.
“I had to tell her that’s a completely different sport!”
Robshaw is one of a number of overseas stars who have moved to the United States, with Australian pair Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper playing for the newly- formed LA Giltinis.
His team lost their opening match of the season this weekend, to a Rugby United New York team that included former England team-mate Ben Foden.
“There’s some fantastic players in the league,” said Robshaw.
“They have some tremendous athletes, some powerful people but a lot of players pick rugby up as a second sport when they might not quite make it as an NFL player or a basketball player.
“So maybe the intricacies of the skills aren’t quite there but it’s definitely growing.”
‘It’s something that will live with us’
Robshaw is yet to make his debut for San Diego Legion as he serves a suspension from rugby after being among the 13 Barbarians players who broke Covid-19 protocols before their game against England in October.
Robshaw was among a group who visited pubs in contravention of agreements they had signed and national lockdown measures.
The match against England was subsequently cancelled on player safety grounds.
“There were very poor choices by myself and the other 12 people involved unfortunately,” Robshaw said.
“It’s something that will live with us and through this whole year it’s definitely been a dampener on my time.
“To start the season over here being banned is not ideal at all from anyone’s point of view.
“We’ve got our punishments and fines and [we’re] trying to do the community work and get back out there and try and enjoy that side of the game again.”