Six Nations 2015: Wales win was very special, says Haskell
Wasps captain James Haskell believes the demons of 2013's defeat in Cardiff have been banished after 21-16 win
James Haskell has hailed England’s 21-16 win over Wales in Cardiff as very special.
Still seeking a maiden championship win in the Lancaster era, England defied their lengthy innjury list and underdogs tag to put in a superb second-half display as they overturned a 16-8 half-time deficit despite spurning a number of try-scoring chances.
To get any win, especially against a Welsh side, is very, very special. It does feel very satisfying.
Not only did Stuart Lancaster’s men avenge their embarrassing 2013 defeat at the same venue, they silenced the passionate home crowd so much that by the end of the contest England’s appropriated American Spiritual anthem Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was omnipresent at the Welsh citadel.
And Wasps captain Haskell, who was part of the side that lost 30-3 at the same venue two years ago, believes it was satisfying to get a win against the enemy on their own patch.
“Credit to Wales, they were physical and there will be some sore bodies during the week,” Haskell said.
“Any time you get to put on that white shirt and win it is very satisfying. I’ve probably lost more than I’ve won with the number of caps I have.
“To get any win, especially against a Welsh side, is very, very special. It does feel very satisfying.
“But it’s always just a little bit marred by the fact that your body is in pieces at the end of it.”
The 29-year-old may not rate his international record, but back-row forward does himself an injustice having won 30 times in his 54 England appearances, with 22 defeats and two draws.
Yet none of his previous barnstorming performances for club or country could emulate his magnificent display at the Millennium Stadium, despite deing denied a certain try by a combination of running into the post and being manhandled by trio of battered Welsh bodies.
For some of us it was about banishing our demons here. When we came here in 2013 we were soundly beaten.
Only young outside-half George Ford, who controlled the game well alonside Ben Youngs, and added 11 points off the tee denied him the man of the match award, but he was man of the match for so many fans from all persuasians after the match.
It was a performance for the ages that even drew praise from Wales boss Warren Gatland after the match, with the Kiwi suggesting that the Wasps man could keep the England jersey for the rest of the campaign off the back of his heroic efforts in Cardiff.
And Haskell admits that there was an element of revenge in their minds as England went about their business in Cardiff, which came courtesy of their young Bath backline trio with Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph getting the tries, while Ford took care of kicking duties.
“For some of us it was about banishing our demons here,” he added.
“When we came here in 2013 we were soundly beaten.
“Every time we go to Cardiff, Wales are very, very fierce opposition with a difficult crowd behind them.
“But by the end it felt as though the stadium was full of English fans, which was quite a nice feeling. It’s a great place to go and win.
“To get a win like we did is very special so we’ll allow ourselves a few hours to smile, then the job will start again.
“Come the Monday review we will be hard on ourselves. The mark of a good side is being tough on yourselves in victory – go away, learn, prepare for a big week and it all starts again next Saturday.
“If you’ve got any ambition of being a world-class side, you have to be really tough on yourselves.”
England return to Pennyhill Park on Monday as they prepare to welcome Italy to Twickenham, with Lancaster naming a 33-man training squad.