Haskell laments England's `shambolic' World Cups

James Haskell
James Haskell
The Highlanders must have driven a hard bargain when they signed James Haskell in 2012.

The newly-retired England international opened up to the The Times about his rugby career and what motivated him to play in New Zealand.

It certainly was not money.

"I went to the Highlanders for $NZ20,000 a year," he said.

"It cost me more to play for them but I went there for the love of the game.

"I have been all around the world and enjoyed every day of it. You get one chance at life and I wanted to maximise it."

Haskell made 12 appearances for the Highlanders in 2012 before joining Wasps, where he played in more than 100 games.

He also had a brief stint with the Northampton Saints.

The 34-year-old loose forward made 77 appearances for England from 2007-19. He played in the 2011 and 2015 World Cup campaigns which he described as "shambolic".

"Both World Cups I was a part of turned out to be shambolic and disappointing.

"I would have liked to have had Eddie Jones coaching me through a World Cup. He would have made it something very different.

"My best games for England were under Eddie. He got the best out of me."

Haskell firmly believes the Jones-led England side can win the World Cup in Japan later this year, which made his decision to retire a little harder.

"I am more sad because I genuinely believe they can win the World Cup. If they do, 99% of me will be very happy. The other one percent will be, like, `f...'."

While Haskell loved his career, he is worried the game lacks personalities and colour.

"For the game to evolve and to get to the level of New Zealand, people have to want to pick up a ball first, and not weight.

"Skills are fundamental. As are personalities. That is one criticism I would have of the game now: everything is so sanitised.

"You can't say this, do that, offend that person, you must reshoot that photo because it had the wrong mobile phone in [it], or not ask that question. It is just all boring.

"I coached some kids the other day. Their posture alone was not great because of all the video games they had been playing, but they had the social skills of a brick."

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