England’s James Haskell hopes to play right tune in Six Nations

James Haskell
James Haskell

England will never again choke in a Grand Slam decider on boss Stuart Lancaster’s watch, according to trainee DJ and Test back-rower James Haskell.

The Wasps loose forward cannot sit still as he recounts England’s spectacularly-botched Grand Slam effort in 24-8 Dublin defeat to Ireland in March 2011.

The 29-year-old is a constant fidget and agitator for personal progress: these days you can find him shaking off his Test-match itch by scratching records in the DJ booth.

The fast-talking flanker believes England’s 21-16 victory over Wales in Cardiff – a revenge mission for the record 30-3 defeat in 2013 that blew another Grand Slam – proves Lancaster’s men no longer crack under pressure.

Haskell hopes England can now ease memories of that 2011 crime too, when they face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in RBS 6 Nations action on March 1.

“It was a very different place in terms of the structure with England and the coaches and where we were,” said Haskell, of the 2011 vintage under then-boss Martin Johnson.

“I don’t think you will ever see an occasion where something like that (Grand Slam collapse in Dublin) happens because boys are too experienced.

“The squad has moved on now.

“Everyone back then still wanted to play for England and play well, so I think they get a harsh rap.

“But with Stuart (Lancaster) coming in, we have a gameplan that is very clear and concise and it suits the players that are playing it. That is the difference.”