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England star's honest assessment of Lions omission: 'Peter O'Mahony played his way in — I failed'

James Haskell was left out of Warren Gatland’s squad for this summer’s New Zealand tour.

England flanker James Haskell.
England flanker James Haskell.

JAMES HASKELL BELIEVES he simply “wasn’t meant to be a Lion” after missing out on selection for Warren Gatland’s squad to tour New Zealand.

Wasps flanker Haskell has excelled for England under Eddie Jones, but was not included in a 41-man party named by Gatland last month.

The 32-year-old is now targeting a third World Cup appearance with his country, in 2019, as he looks to move on from the disappointing snub.

“The Lions is the pinnacle of every rugby player’s career. It’s the difference between being a good player and a great player and I obviously wasn’t good enough to do it. That’s the fact,” Haskell was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“It was not to be really, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve tried my best but I wasn’t meant to be a Lion. I thought I played well in the Six Nations and put myself out there. Could I have done any more? Not really. I just wasn’t good enough in [the coaches'] eyes.

“There are obviously personal preferences and I wasn’t the man to take it on. Excuses might give you comfort at night but it’s down to facts. I was disappointed, went home, spoke to my missus, it was like ‘oh, that’s s***’, and then I went away and thought about it, but I’m done with it now.

“Ireland v England had a massive role to play in it; Peter O’Mahony played his way in. Ross Moriarty played his way in during Wales v England. It’s about peaking at the right time and seizing your opportunity. I obviously failed to do that.”

Haskell will tour Argentina with England in June while the Lions are in New Zealand, as part of a squad featuring a host of uncapped players.

“Sam Underhill is now in the mix, everyone has been talking about him for a while, there’s the Curry brothers [identical twins Ben and Tom], these guys are coming and you have to be refreshed and raise yourself,” Haskell added.

“Long term, I’d love to go to another World Cup. That would be the dream. I’ve had two World Cups [in 2011 and 2015] and they weren’t the best, let’s be honest.”

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