- England flanker James Haskell chats to RFU.com after Italy win
- Stade Francais back row on confidence, ball-carrying, facing his colleagues
Photo: Getty Images
James Haskell is relishing his role in the England side after capping his second successive start with a rampaging try in the RBS 6 Nations rout of Italy at Twickenham.
The England flanker had won 23 consecutive caps before his role as an unused replacement for the first Test in Australia last summer marked the beginning of a spell in and out of the side.
But the 25-year-old has impressed with workmanlike performances in the tight and loose in the victories over Wales and Italy and now feels confident of his role in Martin Johnson’s side.
Asked if the last two games represent his finest form in an England shirt, the Stade Francais back row told RFU.com: "I just feel confident that I’m doing what I’m asked to do, which is important as there’s a lot of competition in this [England] back row.
"I’ve been playing and enjoying my life at Stade Francais which has a lot to do with the coaching staff there – Michael Cheika and guys like that have really got the best out of me and that’s carried nicely into the 6 Nations.
AUDIO – England and Stade Francais flanker James Haskell speaks to RFU.com
"Training weeks can be a bit difficult because as a team we’re setting high standards so when a few dropped balls go down it’s important not to be too hard on ourselves. The most important thing to take out of these games is confidence, belief in each other and playing with smiles on our faces."
Special to face Stade colleagues – Haskell
Photo: Getty Images
Haskell is now in his second season with French Top 14 side Stade Francais and as he mentioned, Paris has been a positive influence on his life and rugby
Although no Stade players featured in France’s 25-22 victory over Ireland in Dublin, the former London Wasp says it will be special to play against his domestic colleagues, if any are selected by Marc Lievremont.
France and England put their unbeaten records on the line at Twickenham on February 26 and Haskell added: "It was special to play against Sergio [Parisse] and was sad to see him with his hamstring at the end because he’s such a great player.
"It’s going to be a great game against France, there’s a lot of players there and it’s quite fun because you do all the contact training with your team mates at the club but it’s a bit different when you’re playing in the white shirt against the blue shirt.
"What happened [against Italy] bears no resemblance to what’s going to happen in two weeks – all you can do is take the positives out of it, work on the negatives and everybody has to be as confident as possible. That’s the way we’re playing at the moment."