James Haskell defends England's form but admits work is needed

James Haskell
James Haskell, who was recalled to the England squad earlier this year, has 51 caps
Autumn international: England v Samoa
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday 22 November Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app; highlights on BBC Two on Sunday (13:00 GMT)

England flanker James Haskell says criticism of their recent form is not affecting the camp but they are aware that work needs to be done.

England lost 31-28 to South Africa on Saturday, just a week after losing 24-21 to New Zealand.

But Haskell told BBC Sport: "It wasn't long, maybe three or four years ago, when we were getting absolutely destroyed by these teams.

"It's a mark of how far we have come that we're just falling short."

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Highlights: England 28-31 South Africa

England will bid to end a run of five straight defeats when they take on Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Despite the side's bad run of form, Haskell says morale remains high.

"It's very positive, but it's a fine line," he said. "I don't want anyone to think we don't take these losses to heart because we do.

"Every time you don't get a result after all the hard work, it can be bitterly disappointing.

"But you have to turn that around. Positivity is right up there because we know how good this side can be.

"People are complaining because we've lost by a couple of points, which is right, but we have come so far and we want to get better.

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"We have got stuff to work on, including working on translating stuff from the training field on to the pitch, but there is no doom and gloom in our side."

Earlier this year, Haskell admitted he thought his international career might be over after being left out of the Elite Player Squad in August last year.

But he was recalled in May this year, earned his 51st cap in the summer tour of New Zealand and remains part of the squad, although he has yet to play in the autumn internationals.

"It was great for me to get back on that summer tour to New Zealand," added Haskell, who had a meningitis scare and lost five kilograms last month.

"It's the place where you want to be, to have the chance to pull that white shirt on. I never gave up hope of playing again."

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