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England’s lack of control unacceptable – Haskell

  • James Haskell says England’s penalty count against Georgia was not good enough
  • Tough video anaylsis sessions to come this week says England back rower
James Haskell in action against Georgia

Photo: Getty Images

James Haskell was a central performer in England’s victory over Georgia in Dunedin but after the game the No.8 was forthright in his assessment that Martin Johnson’s side must improve if they want to challenge for the Rugby World Cup.

England scored six tries to secure the bonus-point win and top Pool B but suffered at the breakdown against the abrasive Lelos, especially in the first half when the penalty count was 11-3 in Georgia’s favour.

No.8 Haskell, a late replacement for Nick Easter, believes England need to have an individual and collective look at themselves because a high number of errors, particularly at the tackle area, is stopping the team from reaching their true potential.

Speaking about the importance of upcoming video analysis sessions, the 26-year-old said: "I’ve played with these guys week-in-week-out and know the quality of players we’ve got and the way we play and that translation is not happening on the field.

"When we do get it right we score the tries but then next phase we’ll drop the ball, turn it over, give a penalty away and you just can’t beat a top team playing like that.

"You look at the good sides, they’ve got that control and perhaps you feel the team is going to win. But with England at the moment, you can feel it in the crowd, the feeling is that this could go either way and that’s not acceptable with the talent we’ve got.

"It about identifying individuals and areas where we need to improve and that will happen in the team meetings this week. They might be tough sessions to be in but that’s what it’s all about, you only get one chance at a world cup.

"It’s about being hard on ourselves but also not getting too down because you don’t want to go out there and be frightened of making a mistake. You’ve got to play on the edge, but play on the edge with control, and that will come from training this week."

England flanker James Haskell carries strongly during the victory over Georgia at Rugby World Cup 2011

Photo: Getty Images

The positive is that it is under England's control to put these errors right and like the victory over Argentina the previous week, there was improvement at the tackle area and thus penalty count in the second half.

The final tally was 14-8 in Georgia’s favour and Haskell was quite clear that England will be working hard to ensure there is a greater level of consistency, which will allow them to impose their game on the opposition.

The Ricoh Black Rams back rower said: "It’s frustrating, at one point I saw we were 8-1 down [on the penalty count] and you can’t even begin to play your game if every time you do something there is a penalty.

"It’s just back foot , tackle, get up, penalty. We’re not going to brush this under the carpet and walk around saying we’ve got two wins, everything is hunky dory, that’s the important thing to stress.

"We will go and improve, we’ll work on it but we still need to enjoy this because you’ve got to go out there and play with confidence."