Haskell hails 'The Dominator'
England hero James Haskell insists team-mate Nick Easter was a more worthy winner of the man-of-the-match award against Wales.
Last Updated: 07/02/10 1:54pm
Two-try England hero James Haskell admits he was delighted to have received the man-of-the-match award for his all-action performance against Wales, but insists team-mate Nick Easter was a more worthy winner of the accolade.
Stade Francais flanker Haskell registered his first two tries in England colours as Martin Johnson's men kicked off their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 30-17 win over Wales at Twickenham.
The victory ended a three-year winless streak against the Welsh in the competition and also lifted the pressure on manager Martin Johnson following an uninspiring autumn campaign.
Haskell scored tries in either half on Saturday evening - his second try coming in the dying stages after Wales had threatened a fightback.
England have struggled to produce a reliable back-row trio since Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill and Neil Back dominated world rugby.
But Haskell is convinced the current threesome of himself, Lewis Moody and Easter have the physical attributes to drive England towards silverware.
Haskell said: "I was very pleased I got man of the match but I personally thought Nick Easter - or 'The Dominator' as he likes to be known - deserved it.
"And Moody again showed his quality. You know from those two guys that you are going to get a very physical, determined edge and I just slot in behind them.
"I was lucky to be on the end of a couple of tries but Nick was outstanding and Lewis was too. I'd hate to play against Lewis because he is just so physical, so destructive and puts his body on the line like no other player I know."
All three players helped England get the better of the Wales pack, although the 30-17 victory was seriously under threat after Wales hit back with tries from prop Adam Jones and outside centre James Hook.
But while England had full-back Delon Armitage to thank for the interception which led to Haskell's match-clinching second try, the way Johnson's side refused to fold was encouraging.
Haskell said: "There's always a sense of desperation when you are back under the posts with a three-point gap. But it's the team that keeps the cool head and controls the ball that is going to win.
"If we hadn't gone for that interception where would we have been? It's having the confidence as a team to try those things and it came off.
"In games in the past we might have lost it but the team is so determined to put things right. We were never going to lose that match because we kept coming and coming. Whatever they threw at us we would have died rather than give in to it.
"The players and the management have worked very hard to create a winning atmosphere. We made some bad decisions at times but we stuck together."
Haskell puts his own fine form down to his move to Stade Francais where he believes he has matured as a player.
He said: "When I went there I wanted to come back and be a better player for England. I feel justified in what I've done. I've learned my role in the team.
"It's the maturity I took from having to move there on my own. I got written off in every quarter. People thought I was throwing my England chances away.
"All I've done is work hard. It's a quieter life over there. I wanted to change my lifestyle and the way I approached the game. I found a new impetus. I was thrown in the deep end. Now I wake up, train, go home, relax, explore Paris and that's all there is."