France defeat is huge World Cup wake-up call, says Haskell

Ross McLean
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ENGLAND flanker James Haskell admits that his side were dealt a stark Rugby World Cup warning during their 25-20 defeat to France in Saturday’s warm-up clash.

Late tries from replacement Danny Cipriani and centre Jonathan Joseph masked the remainder of the game in which France dominated as wing Yoann Huget dotted down and Frederic Michalak kicked five penalties.

Skipper Chris Robshaw described England’s discipline during the defeat to Les Bleus as “shocking”, while Haskell insists harsh lessons need to be learned extremely quickly.

“I think the boys will use this as a wake-up call and go forward positively,” said Haskell. “The best thing about this group is we are very honest.

“We are in for a big work week. The boys will out their hand up, we will work extremely hard and we will be very honest.

“I think the first half was one of our worst performances as a team. We couldn’t get any ball to play with and we spent a lot of time defending.”

Head coach Stuart Lancaster must finalise his squad by the end of the month prior to England’s final warm-up clash against Ireland in a QBE International at Twickenham on 5 September.