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James Haskell: It hasn't really felt like a World Cup at England base


James Haskell, left, has felt in a bubble during the World Cup

James Haskell, left, has felt in a bubble during the World Cup

James Haskell, left, has felt in a bubble during the World Cup

England flanker James Haskell insists he will only enter World Cup mode once he is back at his club Wasps as he reflects on a "weird" tournament.

The hosts were knocked out of the competition by successive defeats to Wales and Australia before signing off with a meaningless rout of minnows Uruguay in Manchester on Saturday.

The trip north was the first time the squad had left their Surrey training base and the wisdom of remaining isolated while a World Cup being acclaimed as the greatest yet unfolded has been questioned.

"It's been a weird World Cup for me. I haven't seen a lot of rugby outside of England, so it hasn't really felt like a World Cup," Haskell said.

"It will be interesting to leave camp, go back to my club and watch some of the World Cup - just get into that World Cup mode again."

Haskell has no regrets over sharing a stage with Take That for England's high-profile official send-off despite the failure to progress from the group stage.

Members of the squad gathered at a sold-out The O2 to join the British pop band for a glitzy night of celebration held the week before the tournament began.

"Every team needs a send-off and ours was a great event. I know what you're alluding to - with all the grandeur, was it fitting for a team that got knocked out at the pool stage?" Haskell said.

"But it was an amazing event and it was great to connect with the fans. We did a whole load of meet and greet stuff and it was nice to give people an insight into what the team is all about.

"You need to break down those barriers between players and fans and I thought that event was a great success. But it's the old adage - if you talk the talk, you've got to deliver."

Haskell believes it is the players and not the coaches who should be blamed for England's World Cup failure.

"Coaches are good - but they can't control a game from the stand however good they are. It's the players who have to go on to the pitch and perform," Haskell said.