Haskell enjoys happy Cardiff return

p23172Sport-6-1

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

James Haskell insists England have “banished the demons” after silencing a hostile Millennium Stadium on Friday night.

The World Cup hosts began their pursuit of the 2015 RBS 6 Nations title with a stirring 21-16 victory over Wales that has seen them replace Ireland as favourites to claim a first Championship crown under Stuart Lancaster.

As the second half progressed and England’s forward-led dominance grew, the sound of ‘Swing Low’ drowned out the fading Welsh support.

Haskell was among the survivors from the squad thumped 30-3 in Cardiff two years ago and for the Wasps captain, who produced his best Red Rose performance, it was an occasion to savour.

“For some of us it was about banishing our demons here. When we came here in 2013 we were soundly beaten,” Haskell said.

“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.

“Credit to Wales, they were physical and there will be some sore bodies during the week.

“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 (54 caps, won 30, lost 22, drawn two).

“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.”

England’s performance was hard to fault beyond the failure to engineer the second-half tries that would have deservedly swept them out of Wales’ reach.

Dave Attwood had a score disallowed after Nick Easter had obstructed Dan Biggar moments earlier and Haskell himself would have crossed but for crashing on to the right post as he was tackled having bulldozed a path to the line.

For all the euphoria that has greeted an outstanding start to the Six Nations, Haskell insists the match review will be conducted with a critical eye ahead of Italy’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday.

“If anyone was going to run into a post it was going to be me. I thought I did the best thing, rode the tackle and span out of it. It would have been a try had the posts not been there!” he said.

“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.”

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search