(Reuters) - England flanker James Haskell buried his disappointment at missing yet another British and Irish Lions squad with a desire to focus on extending his international career through until the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The 32-year-old, who has accumulated 75 England caps in an international career of fits and starts, has been rejuvenated under Eddie Jones and stood out in the latest Six Nations.
It was not enough, however, to convince Lions coach Warren Gatland he should take the loose forward to New Zealand.
“I thought I played well in the Six Nations and put myself out there,” Haskell told British media.
”The Lions for me is the pinnacle of every rugby player’s career and it’s the difference between being a good player and a great player.
“I obviously wasn’t good enough.”
Haskell, who spent a season in New Zealand with the Otago Highlanders in Super Rugby, has now missed selection for three Lions tours and said he was unlikely to still be around in four years time.
”I’ve tried my best every year,“ he added. ”In 2009 I had an opportunity; this year I had an opportunity.
“In 2013 I wasn’t in contention... so I wasn’t meant to be a Lion. A lot of people, like myself, are always out of arm’s reach.”
Haskell said that he was looking past the disappointment of being excluded and was focusing on his club Wasps’ end-of-season fixtures and England’s tour of Argentina.
“I didn’t think I was going to go (on the Lions tour) but it was still difficult,” Haskell said.
”I was disappointed... but I‘m done with it. If something happens... then I’ll be in the mix (for the Lions) but I’d rather focus on Wasps and on the England stuff.
“Long term, of course I would love to go to another World Cup. That would be the dream.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru