Haskell: I will not mess it up
June 22, 2012
James Haskell plucks the high ball in training © Getty Images
England flanker James Haskell insists that he will not "mess up" the opportunity handed to him ahead of the third Test but concedes that he is still partial to the odd joke in and around the training ground.
Haskell last turned out for England back in the 2011 World Cup and after spells in Japan and New Zealand, he has been given his chance to impress after being named by Stuart Lancaster in the starting XV to face the Springboks on Saturday. Haskell has a reputation of being a larger-than-life character off the field, but he is adamant that he knows when to focus and put banter to one side.
"I am never going to be a quiet guy sitting in the corner - that is not me, I can't resist a bit of banter," Haskell said. "For the most part some of the boys enjoy that. But what I try to do, when it comes to training, is make sure I get the balance right.
"I haven't been the perception of James Haskell, joking and larking around. I have been what I normally am, pretty sensible and serious when it comes to the training ground but in the downtime, having a coffee with the boys, then we'll have a joke and a laugh.
"I know what we are trying to achieve here. I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity and I am not going to mess it up."
Haskell suspected his opportunity might be coming as he was left on the bench during the midweek tour match against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom. He said: "I wanted to get on - warming up is tiring but you don't get that shot of adrenalin from experiencing it. But when I didn't come on and was fit and able to participate this weekend...it was a bit of a dream come true really.
"I came here with no expectations. I didn't expect to be involved in the Test team. I came here to fit in with new England, get the mentality right off the field as well as on it. Through injury I have got the chance quicker than I thought."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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