Haskell won’t accept narrow defeats

Date published: November 18 2014

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England flanker James Haskell says times have changed, with the side no longer happy to be ‘plucky runners-up’ anymore.

England flanker James Haskell says times have changed, with the side no longer happy to be ‘plucky runners-up’ anymore.

Highlighting how England would have taken heart in the past from avoiding heavy losses to the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, Haskell underlined the belief in the squad that England can defeat the best.

Stuart Lancaster’s team have however lost their last five Tests – four to the All Blacks.

“I have been involved with England when we were getting beaten heavily by these sides and when a narrow loss would have been acceptable,” said Haskell.

“But this side has now developed to a point where we have beaten the world champions and where we ultimately should be beating these teams and be right up there.

“It’s very easy to see us as plucky runners-up, but not one person in this entire environment has ever said that is the case.

“No one is satisfied to only be pushing those teams close. We realise we want to be beating them, we should be beating them and we are doing all the things in our power to make that happen.

“As players we are our own biggest critics. I don’t really read the papers because I know what I have done wrong. I don’t need a mark out of 10 to tell me I have done something wrong.”

Next up for England is the challenge of facing Samoa back at Twickenham. The Wasps captain hopes the side don’t close up after the criticism sent their way this week.

“I hope we don’t go into our shell, that’s certainly not the impression of what will happen that I’m getting from the guys. There will be boys coming into the team who want to put their hands up,” added Haskell.

“Our nature and game plan isn’t about going into our shell. That just doesn’t work and I’ve got every confidence that won’t happen.”

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