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VIDEO – Haskell and Cracknell talk Sevens

23 March 2011

  • James Haskell and Chris Cracknell discuss England Sevens ahead of Hong Kong
  • Former Maidenhead teammates on their respective paths in rugby

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Former teenage teammates James Haskell and Chris Cracknell discuss the world of sevens as England continue their quest for a first ever HSBC Sevens World Series title.

The two back row forwards played together at Maidenhead and while Haskell is now a leading light in Martin Johnson’s back row, Cracknell is a full-time England Sevens player who will be in action at the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens.

The Hong Kong Sevens starts this Friday (March 25) and, speaking exclusively to RFUtv, Haskell said: "I was actually behind Chris when we played at Maidenhead, he was one of the first guys to achieve and break out of that club rugby phase.

"I've known Chris for years and been watching him achieve with Sevens. The guys are leading the table for the first time and they're playing great rugby.

"I'm not sure I'd be any good at Sevens any more, I did have a little taste of it but it's been great to follow his progress."

Cracknell on professional era of Sevens

England Sevens forward Chris Cracknell on the run against New Zealand at the Wellington Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

Ben Ryan’s England side are joint top of the current world series standings after four events and are reaping the benefits of becoming a full-time professional outfit.

Cracknell, who has played 16 sevens events, believes the increased time together is making the difference on the pitch.

"This year we've been able to train week-in week out and that's made a massive difference in the run up to tournaments," said the 26-year-old.

"We can work on things so everything is not rushed. When James would’ve played you a week, two weeks maybe it they’re lucky, before they went away to a tournament and be expected to do the business.

"Whereas now we have a four or five week build up and can get our fitness right, get our strength and conditioning done before going into a tournament."

The Hong Kong Sevens, the most prestigious tournament in sevens rugby, is next on the agenda for Cracknell and Haskell added: "It’s an amazing thing. Hong Kong, even when I was at school, was something I always dreamed of."

You can watch England Sevens in action on May 21 and 22 at Twickenham Stadium in the Emirates Airline London Sevens, the penultimate leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Tickets are available from £15 via RFU.com.