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Haskell: Japan World Cup England’s best chance of glory since 2003

The former England flanker says the tournament is “massively exciting” for Eddie Jones’ side.

Former England flanker James Haskell says the upcoming World Cup is “massively exciting” for Eddie Jones’ side (PA)
Former England flanker James Haskell says the upcoming World Cup is “massively exciting” for Eddie Jones’ side (PA)

James Haskell believes the upcoming World Cup will be England’s best chance of victory since they lifted the trophy in 2003.

The former England flanker, who played 77 times for the national side between 2007 and 2018, has admitted he is looking forward to the tournament in Japan.

England were left disappointed to finish as runners-up in the Six Nations earlier this year after being beaten by Wales 21-13 in Cardiff, and were also held to a draw against Scotland in the final game of the tournament.

Despite that, Haskell thinks this England team could repeat the success of 16 years ago.

“I think the World Cup is massively exciting for England,” Haskell said.

“Eddie (Jones) has left no stone unturned in pursuit of making the best team possible. I think they’ve taken training to a new level.

“I’ve had conversations with Eddie and he’s excited. I’m an England fan now and no longer a player and I’m excited to see us go on and win it.”

He added: “For me, it’s the best chance England have had since 2003, I think we’re in the best possible place to go and compete.”

In preparation for the World Cup, Jones’ England have been training in Treviso and the Australian has omitted some big names, including fly-half Danny Cipriani.

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England head coach Eddie Jones (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Cipriani was named player’s player of the season and player of the season at both the RPA awards and the Premiership Rugby awards but has been left out of the most recent training camp.

On the fly-half, Haskell said: “I always feel for Danny, I think he’s an incredible player. For me he’s probably the best fly-half in England at the moment on the form of last season.

“Obviously Eddie and the coaching staff have their reasons why.

“I think he’s someone that you should always have in the squad, he has that ability to perform, he can do things that the other guy’s can’t.”

England are set to host Wales on Sunday in the first of four warm-up matches before heading to Japan, where their World Cup campaign starts on September 22 when they take on Tonga in Sapporo.

PA

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