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Robshaw may not captain England against AllBlacks

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James Mortimer     26 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The English play Fiji on November 10 before hosting Australia, South Africa and world champions New Zealand on four straight Saturdays at Twickenham.

England coach Stuart Lancaster has decided to not only delay the decision as to who will wear his armband on the crucial tour, which will establish the top four for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but has said that Robshaw may not lead his country.

New Zealand born Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley captained England in their 14-14 draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth, and is said to be a potential skipper, as is flanker Tom Wood, despite his recent concerns over a foot injury.

"We haven't decided on the captain yet," Lancaster said.

"We'll sit down when we meet in camp, we'll look at who's available, form and fitness obviously. Clearly Chris has done a fantastic job. There's no reason why he wouldn't be strongly considered for the autumn.

"But Chris could get injured as he was for the third Test when Dylan stepped up. So it's too early to say 'This guy is going to be captain'."

Lancaster rolled out the cliche that a team must be named and then a captain chosen, but said that the support around the boss defined the setup.

"I wouldn't say the captaincy is overplayed, being England captain is a big job obviously, but a strong leadership group surrounding the captain is equally important," Lancaster said.

"Also the decision-makers that support the captain. If you've got a fantastic captain but you haven't got someone who can run the game from 10 or run a line-out, you can forget it. The plan, when we do name the captain, is ideally to name him for the autumn internationals.

"We named Chris for the South Africa tour but lost him for the last Test so we've got to be able to change and adapt as we go. Dylan taking over as captain was an example of the seamless transition from one leader to another. And if you look at the performance of the third Test, while Chris was missed on the field, Dylan did a fantastic job captaining the side.

"We got a performance out of the team in what was a challenging situation to make sure we finished the tour strongly, on the back of a long hard season for English rugby.

"That was credit to Dylan and also the rest of the players who played in that team."