Haskell plays down hype
James Haskell insists England are more than capable of silencing the partisan Ireland crowd with victory in Dublin.
Last Updated: 17/03/11 7:59am
Flanker James Haskell is expecting a hostile reception in Dublin on Saturday, however he insists England are more than capable of silencing the partisan crowd with a professional performance against Ireland.
Four successive RBS Six Nations victories have put Martin Johnson's on the brink of landing their first Grand Slam crown for eight years, however Ireland have spoken of their desire to wreck the English party at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland wing Tommy Bowe stirred the pot on Tuesday declaring "all the different countries will be backing us" to stop England from winning their first Grand Slam since 2003.
Bowe's comments come after Wales coach Warren Gatland aimed criticism at hooker Dylan Hartley and France boss Marc Lievremont claimed: "We all don't like the English."
But England flanker Haskell has played down the pre-match hype, claiming England's will to succeed is too strong to be upset by outside influences.
"Does all the pomp and circumstance of a week like this affect us while we are in camp? No it doesn't," Haskell said.
"Unless they firebomb the bus or come storming the hotel with placards it is an irrelevance for us.
"We have a lot of guys who have been there before, who have tasted that hostile environment. We have a lot of guys who have played in club finals, in tough occasions. That filters down through the squad.
"Martin Johnson will steer us through this week so all our energy is focused on the opposition. There will be nerves and fear but there will be excitement as well."
"This is a grand final against Ireland at the new Lansdowne Road. That is all the motivation you will ever need to have," Haskell added.
"You want to go out there and perform and make sure nothing is left in the tank. What a shame it would be to go through this attritional Six Nations and play all that rugby to be left thinking about the what ifs.
"In the final week, it doesn't matter if your leg is hanging off.
"You are going to leave nothing out on the field because if you do you will spend the coming years ruing the day you didn't put the effort in.
"I know I'd be very disappointed by that and I am sure everyone else will be."