Ahead of England’s Six Nations third round clash with perennial whipping boys Italy, Wasps flanker James Haskell has insisted he is now ready to start for Eddie Jones instead of operating as one of his ‘finishers’.
The 31-year-old spent seven months on the sidelines due to a serious toe injury and following his concussion interrupted return in January, he has, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph, insisted he is good to go for a full 80 minutes for England.
Known for being something of a muscle bound ‘sturdily constructed outhouse’, Haskell revealed that he changed his training philosophy in order to return to full fitness.
“I have just worked very hard on my mobility. I run a fitness business and people get bogged down with the idea I spend all my time in the gym, but I never do any bodybuilding training or anything like that.
“All my training is focused around mobility and being a better rugby player. That is what I have hammered hard. We have done a lot of stretching sessions.
“Now I probably look more like a T1000 as opposed to a wardrobe with a head. I move a little bit better, but I don’t think I will be Usain Bolt any time soon.
“When injured, I’ve tried to find the best people to work with. I’ve done weird and wonderful things. I’ve even been tied to a treadmill running backwards.”
Now that his injury troubles are behind him, Haskell will be keen to make his mark on both the remainder of the Six Nations campaign as well as the English Premiership season with Wasps.
With British and Irish Lions selection up for grabs and massive competition for places, he will need to be on his A game between now and the Summer, when Warren Gatland takes the best of the home nations south to New Zealand for the hotly anticipated series.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
This week’s edition of The Oval Office, we speak with Niall Ronan, David Arnott and talk all things Six Nations.