England tour of South Africa
Haskell wants more from England
June 25, 2012
James Haskell enjoyed a strong return to international rugby © Getty Images
James Haskell insists England can show further improvement following their spirited showing during the recent tour of South Africa.
England lost the Test series 2-0, but showed signs of progress from the 2011 World Cup and the Six Nations earlier this year. Haskell, who made an impressive international return in Saturday's14-14 draw in the final Test, believes the team must continue to move forward.
"To draw or win against a southern hemisphere side is pretty special, especially on their own turf," he said. "Moving towards the autumn internationals, hopefully this has been a big step, but I think we have got to be a bit more creative in attack. We have got to test teams a bit more.
"We have got the physicality and the ability to finish. We have just got to be a bit smarter, get the likes of (Chris) Ashton and Manu (Tuilagi) running through holes rather than at people."
England will play the Springboks again during their autumn international programme this year, as well as facing Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Haskell expects the culture created by Stuart Lancaster will continue to bond the squad.
"In terms of culture and character, this has helped as well," said Haskell. "You can look back and say that in the heat of the battle, in the fire of Port Elizabeth, we came together and we didn't take a backward step.
"We didn't have the polish we wanted but we were certainly positive. Every time you take to the field you gain a bit more knowledge about what it takes to win in international rugby.
"I think we will be a bit more settled. To push South Africa like we did in all these games, we have got to be pretty positive about that."
Haskell did not play in the Six Nations and had to bide his time after being called into Lancaster's 42-man touring squad. He sat out the first two Tests but an injury to captain Chris Robshaw allowed him to return to the international stage.
"When you are in the system and loving life you take it for granted a bit," he said.
"But when you are on the other side of the world and have been written off, and when you get that chance to pull on the England shirt again, you don't want to leave anything out there."
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