Haskell suggests summer switch

Date published: November 6 2015

James Haskell is suggesting that rugby should be played in the English summer rather than winter to encourage emerging players to learn a different skill set.

Following England's early exit from the World Cup – which came off the back of a quarter-final exit in 2011 – Haskell believes that it could be time for a drastic change. 

The English back-rower spent the 2012 Super Rugby season with the Highlanders, where he learnt about New Zealand's culture of rugby, which helped shape his opinion.

"Culturally, in New Zealand they live and breathe rugby," the 30-year-old told the Daily Mail.  

"First and foremost everyone wants to be a rugby player, no one wants to be in 'The Only Way Is Essex' or a footballer.

"It helps when the whole nation is geared towards one thing. They play touch as soon as they can walk, in good weather. If they don't make their Super 15 team, they play club rugby. The surfaces are better and I didn't have one wet weather game.

"The only change I can suggest if you want us to compete is to make rugby over here a summer sport. Then we can play in dry weather and play a style of rugby we want to play. There's no point wanting to be like New Zealand because we're not them.

"There isn't a miracle answer, but if we encouraged more people to play touch, focus on the skills and play in the summer, things would change."