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Page last updated at 05:15 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 06:15 UK

'Ruthless' Wasps eye league title

By James Standley

James Haskell on the attack for Wasps against Leicester
Haskell has described Wasps' Premiership run-in as "attritional"

England's James Haskell believes Wasps can complete their recovery from a shocking start to the season by going all the way to the Premiership title.

Eight league wins in a row have seen Wasps, who were eighth at the start of March, vault into the play-off places.

They have a game in hand but face three matches in seven days, starting with leaders Gloucester on Sunday.

"I think we can go all the way. The guys are pretty ruthless; we're a club built on success," he told BBC Sport.

Haskell described Wasps' run-in, which involves a visit to struggling Newcastle before a final-day trip to Leeds, as "attritional".

"We've had games cancelled and we've got extra games, but if any club can do it we have the attitude and ability to do it," said Haskell, who dismissed suggestions the final two matches would be easy.

Our work-hard, play-hard attitude and our aggressive nature is all down to Shaun Edwards

Wasps flanker James Haskell
"I don't think there are any easy games in the Premiership," said the 23-year-old flanker.

"You can't go into any of these things expecting a win. We're going into it expecting massive physical challenges."

With many of their central figures on World Cup duty Wasps struggled for the first half of the season.

However, their never-say-die attitude, which Haskell says is a tribute to head coach Shaun Edwards, has seen them storm into the top four.

"When you think of the spirit and way we play the game, they come from Shaun," said Haskell. "That's what the club is based on - it's Shaun's attitude.

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"It started with Warren (Gatland) and Shaun, Shaun's carried that on and (director of rugby) Ian McGeechan's added his things into the mix.

"Shaun combines the real aggressive, basic simple gameplans with all the nuances of the game and knows all the ins and outs - he is such a great coach.

"He is what Wasps stand for. Our work-hard, play-hard attitude and our aggressive nature is all down to him."

Once the club season finishes Haskell is virtually certain to be on England's trip to New Zealand.

When you think of English rugby and the World Cup-winning side you think of Martin Johnson

Wasps flanker James Haskell
When asked whether he was looking forward to the tour Haskell, who has won six caps, preferred to focus on Wasps, insisting: "My only concern is playing against Gloucester."

But when questioned about new England boss Martin Johnson, Haskell, Haskell, who was speaking at the global launch of Barclays Spaces for Sports, which has already delivered 200 sports sites in the UK, was happy to wax lyrical.

"The guy's a talisman. When you think of English rugby and the World Cup-winning side you think of Martin Johnson," said Haskell.

"His leadership ability, his no-nonsense attitude, the standard he has set himself throughout his career and the standards he expects from the team around him will make sure every level is raised and he'll get the best out of the players.

"I'm sure he will do a great job for England."


see also
Wasps v Gloucester (Sun)
01 May 08 |  English
England captain appeals - Haskell
25 Mar 08 |  London Wasps
Haskell doubt for Scotland clash
26 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union


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