Depending on who you speak to, the reasons for England’s disappointing finish in this year’s Six Nations will vary considerably.
Being over-trained, a lack of depth in key positions, back-row imbalance, a lack of aggression and a failure to settle on combinations in certain areas of the team will be just some of the possible explanations you will hear about England’s recent form.
Such has been the drop in the team’s performance, there have even been questions surrounding Eddie Jones’ future, something which would seem incomprehensible before the tournament began back in February.
Many people believe the reaction has been over the top and James Haskell belongs to this category.
“It’s madness,” Haskell told The Daily Mail about people questioning Jones’ position. “Obviously losing three games was hugely disappointing but some of the reaction is a crock of s***.
“How many games did we win before the Six Nations? We lose three and people think rugby’s football. People want to kick everyone out and fire everyone, but how many of those offer an alternative? It’s absolute crap.”
Haskell believes people are quick to forget the results England secured after the 2015 World Cup and he admits that great teams take years to develop, such as the All Blacks.
“Eddie’s not a f****** idiot. What he’s done since the World Cup is unprecedented. I’d hate to work in football. Chelsea managers come and go like the wind. It’s cretinous that people think you can just bring in a new coach and you win.”
“Look, I’ve played in New Zealand and it’s not like the All Blacks play a secret game that no one else understands,” Haskell continued.
“People forget that the All Blacks took a long time to win a World Cup. They ballsed it up in France in 2007. There’s no magic wand. Developing a team takes time.”