June International Tours

Wasp Haskell staying positive



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England unfortunate James Haskell is remaining extremely positive following his recent World Cup selection heartache.

The rampaging youngster, who returned to club duty with London Wasps on Tuesday, was viewed by many as a perfect impact player for the France tournament.

However, coach Brian Ashton opted for more experienced faces and now Haskell has turned his attention to excelling for the European Champions this term.

“If you’d said to me six months ago that I’d be called up for my country, and not only that but to prepare for a World Cup, I probably would have laughed in your face,” Haskell said, speaking to the Maidenhead Advertiser.

“At that time my priority was just to try and get into the Wasps team.

“But it did happen and it was a pretty exciting experience and great to have been involved in.”

The 22-year-old flanker shot to fame last season with impressive Heineken Cup displays.

And he has now had time to reflect on a memorable season, thanks to Wasps Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan handing him a well-earned week’s rest.

“It was a very positive experience all round,” he explained.

“At Wasps we pride ourselves on setting the bar high but when you are in the international arena, alongside the most talented players from across the country, the level of that bar is raised again.

“That was very apparent in training and in the expectations of John Wells and Brian.”

“I’m going to do everything I can to get back in the England squad and give myself the opportunity again.”

Although very disappointed to miss out on the final 30, Haskell found time to praise club-mate Tom Rees on his selection.

“Every time the press talked about the England team, Reesy was mentioned alongside Jonny Wilkinson as one of the certainties to go, but I know Tom extremely well and I don’t think he’ll read too much into the media hype, he’ll just concentrate on going out there and playing his game,” he added.

“He’s had his fair share of banter from the squad as a result though, and we’ve given him a new nickname – Charlie Bucket, the boy with the golden ticket.

“We’ve told him all he had to do was open the candy bar that Brian handed him and he’s been laid back on the sunloungers ever since.

“It is all banter though, and in reality no one gets a golden ticket. Reesy works very hard at his game, and he’s had to get past the niggles with his knee and hamstring recently.

“He is the stand out seven in England and he’s worked hard to get there.

“Touch wood it goes very well for him.”


365 Digital

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