James Haskell keeps it simple as England’s muscle eclipses Australia | Eddie Butler

Eddie Jones has worked wonders with the Wasps flanker but it was the coach’s bold introduction of George Ford that helped England hold off the hosts in Brisbane

In the age of multiple No7s being packed into the back row, of David Pocock and Michael Hooper doubling up and reinforcing the effectiveness of breakdown specialists, especially on a night of open play, ready-made for them, it was James Haskell that stole the show. The great overgrown puppy dog of England is not a game-reading No8, it is said. He’s too conspicuous to be a 6 and not artful enough for 7. Maybe not, but he had the all-round game of his life in Brisbane.

Having put in a shift that was mostly physical, with its huge tackles and grappling intensity, he was asked afterwards about Australia’s opening burst, when they scored two tries. The Hask briefly went into thoughtful mode. He had worked out what was wrong. The fault was all his, because, as he put it, he was “blowing a bit”. Once he got his second wind, that is, everything would be better. And he was right, of course, because as soon as he adapted to the rhythm of the night, he was outstanding.

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