James Haskell makes some bizarre British Empire comments ahead of Ireland game 2 years ago

James Haskell makes some bizarre British Empire comments ahead of Ireland game

Hmmm.

James Haskell has said that England's perceived status as the most-hated team in rugby is down to the British Empire.

Haskell has been recalled to Eddie Jones' side as they look to prevent Six Nations champions Ireland from clinching the Grand Slam at Twickenham.

The experienced Wasps flanker said that England's history is 'easy motivation' for sides.

"It's what happens when you used to run the world, isn't it? It's down to empire building. It got done a long, long time ago," the 32-year-old said.

"I never once got in my boat and said, 'right you're part of Great Britain'. I can't be held responsible for it. It's an easy motivation factor for other sides because of the long, entrenched history. It's very difficult for us to feel the same. If you know your history we are partly to blame. I try to approach my life in sport with passion, intensity and a desire to come out on top and win, but I don't hate anyone."

While England's formidable home record may be seen as a considerable obstacle for Ireland to overcome, Haskell insists that form won't matter when it comes to the visit of Ireland.

“I don’t want to burst any bubbles here,” Haskell said. “There is the comfort of being at home on your territory where you know the crowd will be on your side for the most part. But because we travel all the time it doesn’t really matter where we are playing or what the records are.

“When you sit at dinners, people are saying, ‘you must think this’, or, ‘you must think that’, but you don’t really. We are so focused on turning up, training, playing and trying to put a big performance in that it does not really matter where you train or play. For the most part it is background noise.

“We have loads of people who watch training here, you completely zone them out – it is the same at Twickenham. It is only when you have a stop in play, or they play the big screen or you have been a naughty boy that you are aware of what’s going on.”