England have successfully rebuilt reputation, declares James Haskell
Ricoh Black Rams star James Haskell believes England have successfully rebuilt their reputation in international rugby
James Haskell believes the England national team are back to where it should be after watching Stuart Lancaster’s side restore some much-needed pride during the Six Nations.
Haskell has not played for England since winning his 42nd cap in last year’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, having opted to play his club rugby with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan and now the Highlanders in New Zealand.
The 26-year-old will return to Wasps for the start of next season however and will therefore be back in England contention – although back rows Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw and Phil Dowson have all staked their claims in his absence.
And while Haskell believes English rugby wasn’t in as dire a situation after the World Cup as some made out, he is convinced the Red Rose’s reputation has been rebuilt.
“Everyone wanted an England team to be proud of [at the World Cup] and they were disappointed,” Haskell told the Guardian.
“If you took everything that was written at face value — that the guys were on a stag do and so on — then it helped to compound the problems and put English rugby into a dark place.
“But with the new coaches it’s on the way up again and back to where it should be. Guys are focused on performance and the talk is about the rugby, and nothing else.”
© Sportsbeat 2012