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England 14:30 New Zealand

Six Nations: James Haskell ready for Sergio Parisse reunion in England v Italy clash

Last Updated: 10/03/13 8:38am

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James Haskell: Ready for Sergio Parisse reunion

James Haskell: Ready for Sergio Parisse reunion

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England back row James Haskell is relishing the chance to face former Stade Francais team-mate Sergio Parisse at Twickenham on Sunday.

Stuart Lancaster's men take on Italy in an attempt to keep Grand Slam hopes alive - and Haskell knows all about the Azzurri captain, who he played alongside in the Top 14 for two years.

Haskell, now back with his first club Wasps, said: "I picked up a lot from Sergio - confidence with the ball in hand, looking to attack opposition players and taking people on, developing your skill range to do different things, different passes.

"He is a world class player that most people would want in their team. He is very consistent and leads by example, with that Italian fire and passion he has. You want that.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him. I've tried to ask him for a coffee but he hasn't replied to my text messages.

"So I at least want to see him in the game and say 'hello' because I haven't seen him for a long time."

Despite the injury to No 8 Ben Morgan, competition in the Red Rose back row has been intensified by the return of British & Irish Lions flanker Tom Croft, and Haskell welcomes the challenge.

He added: "I have always been in competition with Crofty and there is also Billy Vunipola, who will have a big future for England, and Matt Kvesic. There are guys coming out from all over.

"If you get that opportunity to start that's the greatest honour and everyone is looking to do that. There is no-one sitting in the armchair thinking 'I am comfortable here.'"

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