Haskell Hails Jones Support
England flanker James Haskell says head coach Eddie Jones acted as a great source of support and motivation during his seven-month absence from the international stage.
The 31-year-old has not played in an England shirt since the series-winning Test over Australia in Melbourne last June due to a toe injury.
He returned for club side Wasps in January and has been named in the matchday 23 to face France in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener.
Haskell admits the road to recovery has been taxing and praised Jones for his support throughout the lengthy rehab process.
“Eddie has been great for me and so many of the other guys,” said Haskell. “I have never met a man so passionate about helping players improve and creating a good place. He cares about his entire squad. “
“He makes you believe fully in yourself and what you are doing, and constantly wants to make you improve.”
Despite a lengthy period out, Haskell says he is fit and raring to take on Les Bleus at the weekend.
“I’ve had two weeks off since last year’s Australia tour,” he said.
“I see it as a challenge and an opportunity, because I’m fresh, and that is a massive thing that people take for granted.”
Haskell describes tournament preparations at Pennyhill Park as intense, comparing one of the training sessions to an 80 minute Test match and admits there is no hiding place.
"This environment is all about improving, working hard, pushing yourself and setting new boundaries." he added. “I feel prepared to do myself and the team justice."
England are expecting a physical challenge when they welcome France to Twickenham this weekend, and Haskell is confident his side have prepared accordingly.
"We’re training faster than international rugby, and the physicality we’re applying is past that level at the moment."
Jones himself says Haskell will play an important part at the weekend with Tom Wood starting the game and the Wasps player set to end the match for England.
"Everyone has a part to play and Haskell has a role to play off the bench - he will be one of our finishers," said Jones. "Tom Wood was exceptional for us in the autumn and we’ll get a great 80 minutes out of them in that position."
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