Haskell not obsessing about England call-up

Ross McLean
Follow Ross
ENGLAND back-row forward James Haskell has banished thoughts of international rugby as head coach Stuart Lancaster prepares to name his Six Nations squad tomorrow.

Haskell is expected to be included in Lancaster’s 33-man troop for the championship and feature as England open the tournament with a showdown with 2012 and 2013 champions Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday 6 February.

The 29-year-old won his 53rd England cap as late replacement for Tom Wood as Lancaster’s side beat Australia 26-17 in November’s final autumn international but insists he is not obsessing over further recognition.

“I don’t worry about things like that,” said Haskell. “Selection at international level is out of your control. When you are a younger player you think you can influence stuff. You can’t.

“You just have to get on with your club game and play well, and every time you get an opportunity on TV, against your opposite men, you have to put a marker down.

“I just want to keep knocking on that door and, if I get picked, I get picked, and if I don’t, we’re doing good things with Wasps.”

Wasps skipper Haskell’s latest England audition came in his side’s 23-3 European Champions Cup victory over Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday evening, setting up a decisive clash with Leinster at the Ricoh Arena this weekend.

Haskell was highly influential, completing 25 tackles and largely overshadowing back-row rival and England captain Chris Robshaw as well as veteran No8 Nick Easter, who has been touted for a Test recall.

Wasps have recovered from a turbulent start to Europe’s premier club competition following defeats to both Leinster and Harlequins, and sit second in Pool Two, two points behind Matt O’Connor’s Pro12 outfit.

And the former Stade Francais flanker insists overhauling Conor O’Shea’s side was the perfect retort to an underwhelming 39-26 defeat to Bath in their last Premiership clash.

“It’s five seasons since we’ve been in Europe, these are special moments and you have to seize them,” added Haskell. “We were disappointed [with defeat against Bath]. Our character was questioned. But a sign of a good side is one which can bounce back.”