James Haskell knows a good hugger when he sees one…
England host Ireland in Twickenham today as the Six Nations reaches its final day. Aside from Ireland’s Grand Slam ambitions, this is a huge game for the English as they aim to avoid a third straight loss.
Eddie Jones’ side were beaten in Murrayfield in their third game, as Scotland scored a rare victory over their ‘Old Enemy’ to claim the Calcutta Cup. After that, France came out on top in ‘Le Crunch’, as England suffered back-to-back defeats.
There’ll be no love lost between Ireland and England this afternoon, and with the added backdrop of Eddie Jones’ “scummy Irish” comments which surfaced during the week, tensions are sure to be high.
However, some of the players involved know each other well, both from playing against each other for club and country, but also as teammates after the Lions’ tour of New Zealand last summer.
James Haskell was among the English contingent in Warren Gatland’s touring party, and he was certainly a hit with the Irish players, if his social media interactions with Sean O’Brien were anything to go by.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Ireland game, he recounted one standout memory of Tadhg Furlong from the tour.
“Tadhg Furlong was a great hugger. I should have guessed he would be. I shared a room with him and I was obviously looking a bit tired so he asked me if I wanted a hug.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Come on then’ and it was just a really nice hug. That was quite nice. Then I put my clothes back on. That’s bonding on tour!” Quote via RTÉ.
We wouldn’t doubt Furlong’s hugging prowess for one moment!