Rugby-Haskell unlikely to start in first test against SA
DURBAN, JUNE 4 - James Haskell has joined up with the England squad but is unlikely to start in the first test against the Springboks, head coach Stuart Lancaster said on Monday.
Haskell has been plying his trade with the New Zealand-based Otaga Highlanders in Super Rugby and only joined up with the England squad on Sunday after the rest of the team had arrived three days previously.
The rugged loose forward has played in 42 test matches for his country but has yet to feature under Lancaster, with his last test for England coming against France in a World Cup quarter-final last year.
Lancaster said that Haskell's limited preparation time with the squad meant he was unlikely so start against South Africa in the first test in Durban on June 9.
Haskell, who arrived from New Zealand, did not train with the squad on Monday as he recovered from jetlag.
"I caught up with James Haskell and we had a good one to one," Lancaster told a news conference.
"Unfortunately for him the jetlag protocol stopped him from training today. It doesn't preclude him (from playing in the first test) but it makes it very hard. The reality is that he will train only once before we announce the team."
However, Lancaster said that he was pleased with Haskell's attitude on his arrival and his knowledge of Super Rugby.
"He is very keen to come in and make a good impression and force his way into the test team," he said.
"He talked about his experiences about playing Super Rugby against the South African sides and I talked him through the journey of the Six Nations and where we are now as a group."
Prop Alex Corbisiero, with a jarred knee, and wing David Strettle, with a slight calf strain, did not train on Monday but Lancaster said he was "optimistic" about the duo's fitness.
Centre Manu Tuilagi, who missed England's first two training sessions in South Africa with a foot injury, did train with the squad.
(Editing by Martyn Herman)
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