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'I knew I was getting booted out' - James Haskell joins The Rugby Pod

By Rugby Pod

Wasps and England flanker James Haskell joins The Rugby Pod to discuss his future, the Lions and Eddie Jones’ visit to his house.


The 32-year-old says the door to the England squad remains “slightly ajar” but revealed that he knew Jones was coming over to deliver bad news so he didn’t roll out the red carpet or splash out on fancy food and drink but just made him a green tea instead.

“I knew he wasn’t coming up [to the house] to offer me the captaincy, so I didn’t get out the fine china or anything like that but I made him a green tea and didn’t threaten to chase him down the road in my digger,” he told The Rugby Pod.

“I knew I was getting booted out. If he was coming up to offer me something good and things were going really well, then I might have really laid it on for him.”

Haskell told former Scotland international Jim Hamilton and ex-England fly half Andy Goode that it was frustrating watching the autumn internationals from afar but that he knows what he has to do to get back into the squad and that is focus on what sets him apart.

“Obviously, they won three out of three in the autumn and the back row boys went well but I’ve just got get on with it and worry about what I can control,” he said.

“He just said that my form hadn’t been good enough. He felt that I wasn’t performing and I needed to go away and sort that out. He has always been very honest and open about that kind of stuff and obviously the door was not fully closed. I think it’s slightly ajar.


“For me it’s just about playing well. If you go well for your club and they go well, then you’re constantly putting your hand up and they can’t ignore you.

“I think when you’ve got to a certain point, it’s just about bringing out your point of difference. There’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. I think for a large part of my career I was trying to be all things to all men and trying to be good at everything and you’re just never going to be able to do that.

“People have a point of difference. Goodey was good in the bar after the game and good for morale. Jim was great for penalties and if you wanted a game slowing down and disrupted, you’d call on him.

“I need to bring my physicality to games and he wants me hitting people hard and doing that kind of stuff, so it’s very simple and you’ve just got to go and deliver that. He didn’t ask me to start taking drop goals or try to be a playmaker because that’s never going to happen.”


The back rower, who has won 75 caps for his country, also revealed that he spent a lot of time with the Irish contingent while on tour with the British and Irish Lions in the summer and that there were a few interesting characters in the group.

“Tadgh Furlong was very nice. I was sharing a room with him and looking lost and he gave me a big hug. I thought that was very nice and welcoming,” he told The Rugby Pod.

“Sean O’Brien was a very interesting character to share a room with and I wouldn’t say hygiene was top of the list of priorities.

“He was very good but he was a bit of a selfish shellfish. My missus sent me a couple of care packages that I left on my bed and when I came back he’d unwrapped them and eaten the Ferrero Rocher.

“CJ Stander was a lovely bloke but he made me watch a few weird videos on his phone of hunting and stuff like that. That was pretty aggressive.

“The amazing thing was the kit man really. We had a guy called Rala [Patrick O’Reilly], who was a 70-year-old guy and is an Irish legend and what I didn’t realise is that the tradition the night before a game was that everyone would go to his room and he’d get out sweets and cups of tea. Not in a weird way though!

“The boys would then relax and tell a few stories but as the night progresses the Irish boys get more and more aggressive and they start trashing this bloke’s room.

“The best night I heard about was when they Blu-Tacked all his possessions to the ceiling, including his glasses so he couldn’t see where anything was, but one night they also set his alarm for on the hour every hour from 4am and hid his glasses in the cupboard.

“He couldn’t find his glasses to turn the alarm off and then they ordered him an anchovy and pilchard sandwich to be hand delivered as well.”

Haskell is firmly back on club duty now and, although he is out of contract at the end of this season, insists he hasn’t spoken to any other clubs and is focused on performing well for Wasps with the ultimate goal of adding to his 75 England caps as well.

“I’m out of contract with Wasps [at the end of the season] but I honestly haven’t had a conversation with anyone about anything. I’ve just been trying to get everything in order with my playing,” he said.

“This was obviously the first time I’d been fully left out of the England squad when I was fit and able to be involved, so it just refocused me about what I wanted to do.”

You can listen to all previous episodes of The Rugby Pod Here


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Shaylen 7 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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