Haskell hails Ford's focus

Defence coach's speech a 'watershed moment' for England

Last Updated: 23/09/11 12:05pm

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James Haskell revealed England will head into their clash with Romania fired up by an emotional speech from defence coach Mike Ford.

England's disappointing performance against Georgia was followed by a "brutally honest" squad review session, with frank contributions from manager Martin Johnson and senior players.

But it was Ford's address that has led the likes of Haskell to consider the meeting to be a watershed moment in England's campaign.

"He hit the nail on the head that this World Cup could be over faster than you realise it," said Haskell.

"He said, 'You have given up so much time and committed so much to waste an opportunity that maybe you will only get once in a lifetime, or for others it will be a last opportunity.

"It's no good thinking and waiting for the next one in England in 2015. This is reality. You have made these sacrifices, left wives, girlfriends, families and children at home. Your careers are defined by tournaments like the World Cup, you live and die by them'."

Opportunity

Ford outlined in the meeting how Ireland's victory over Australia had turned the World Cup draw upside down and presented England with a golden chance to achieve something.

"Mike had a chart with all the scenarios on them," said Haskell.

"He talked about the need to take one game at a time but that we had a great opportunity - and if we were solid and concise and put in a performance for 80 minutes, we could achieve something great."

"He hit the nail on the head that this World Cup could be over faster than you realise it."
James Haskell Quotes of the week

If England win their group, their reward could well be a quarter-final against France followed by a potential semi-final against Wales or Ireland.

Johnson warned his men their standards against Georgia were not high enough to get that far - and Ford's hard-hitting speech has had a significant impact on the squad.

"People looked around the room and it struck a chord, an emotional chord," said Haskell.

"People got that renewed force and that has been shown in training this week."

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