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Haskell answers your questions on England, a seance & Friends

James Haskell composite

James Haskell has a lot to say… which is fortunate because BBC Sport readers had a lot to ask.

This week the England and Wasps star – one of the biggest noises in both dressing rooms – is tackling questions on issues on and off the pitch for his BBC Sport column.

Richard Bicknell via Facebook: Since the frustration of England’s 2015 World Cup campaign [Haskell’s only start was in the dead rubber against Uruguay], your form has been fantastic. Is it a big mental thing getting over not being very involved in a home World Cup and do you feel some of those heavily involved in the failure are still suffering from it?

It was devastating not to have done as well as we would have wanted, but everyone put in all the effort that they could into trying to perform. Some of that gets lost with time and journalism.

The coaches and players during that World Cup campaign worked as hard as any team I have been involved in, but the beauty of being a professional sportsman is that you get another opportunity and the chance to finish what you started.

I think for a lot of guys this is a new period and that World Cup has been consigned to history.

Tony Morris via Twitter: What different challenges will England’s opponents pose this autumn?

The talk with England so far has only been on South Africa in the first Test of the autumn on 12 November.

The coaches will have looked further ahead to the games against Fiji, Argentina and Australia, but the focus is on the Springboks and the huge physical challenge that they pose.

The Australians will be interesting and another huge physical encounter.

The Argentines are a little bit of an unknown quantity. We beat them three times in a year in 2013, but they have had a resurgence since then and they are a very different team. It will be interesting to see how we match up with their free-flowing rugby.

Fiji are always tough and physical. They beat Great Britain to win Olympic gold in the sevens and, after losing to us in the World Cup opener last year, will be out for revenge.

Jason Mears via Twitter: Who is the toughest back rower you’ve faced?

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Former Leicester number eight Henry Tuilagi at his wrecking-ball best for Perpignan

Henry Tuilagi is the biggest and most physical that I have played against. He was an absolute machine. When I played him at sevens I would just throw myself at his ankles to try and stop him.

South Africa’s Schalk Burger is very physical and, for the All Blacks, Jerry Collins and Jerome Kaino were really tough.

Greg GWilliam via Twitter:Who has put the biggest hit in on you, excluding the post in that Wales game, and who have you hit the hardest?

Sam Tuitupou of Worcester absolutely ended me when I was playing for Wasps when I was younger.

I was clean through, thought I was going to score and he just thumped me from the side, sending the ball flying out of my hands.

For my own, I put one in on Census Johnston – who is about 130kgs – when I was playing for Stade Francais against Toulouse. One of my team-mates piled in as well and turned into a bit of an illegal hit, but that was my favourite.

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James Haskell collides with the post

Amanada Clipham via Twitter: When are you going to be fit again?

December is the plan. I have just been back running on a special treadmill that reduces the load on my injured toe. It is going well.

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Haskell getting that floating feeling on the anti-gravity treadmill

Tony Abass via Facebook: What are your plans after retirement?

I have my fitness business that I run already and I have written a couple of books for rugby players at different levels looking to improve their play. It’s basically aimed at anyone trying to get into fitness.

I really want to go into television and radio. The punditry stuff is fine, but it is not my main interest. I would like to do presenting or try my hand at acting.

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Haskell has been doing some punditry work while he has been out injured

I am a big fan of Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education. I think I would be limited to what parts I could play – if it was security guard number five or palm tree number three then I think I would probably get the role!

James Roberts via Facebook:After your epic pillow fight on League of Our Own, who would win in an arm wrestle – you or Freddy Flintoff?

I reckon I would nine times out of 10.

Talk About Rugby via Twitter:What did you think bout being locked in a stable with the lights out with your other half on Celebrity Haunted Hotel Live? With the music box playing, were you scared?

I went into it very open-minded, but, sadly in a way, nothing happened to me. There was not a hint of a ghost – maybe they just didn’t like my chat. I think my backside was hanging out the back of my pyjama bottoms for most it – that was probably more scary than any ghosts.

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Haskell has dated Chloe Madeley – daughter of television personalities Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan – for nearly two years

We managed to upset the lady who was dong a seance – Chloe couldn’t stop laughing and I banged my head on the chandelier which created a false alarm on the ghost front.

Scott via Twitter:What would you do if you had to live without social media for a day?

I would be quite happy. Social media is a tool for me, it is a means to an end. It is about building a business and sharing a little of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I don’t get anything else out of it really.

I look at it to see people doing funny and strange stuff – like most people – but I could live quite happily without it.

It could be such a force for positivity, but unfortunately it tends to be a collecting ground for complete lunatics. It has given an opinion to everyone and some people just don’t deserve one.

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Haskell looking fresh faced when out on the town with a younger Danny Cipriani (left) and the grizzled Midwest sheriff look of last Movember

JuanJo Murrati on Twitter: Last November you had a wonderful moustache. Will it be making a comeback this year?

There has been a little confusion over this. You have to be clean shaven on 1 November and go through the pain of all the different stages as it grows out. In other years, I have had a beard going into autumn and shaved it off to leave behind a ridiculous ‘tache as that was a better way to raise awareness.

This year though I have gone full bore, cleanly shaven and look about 12 years old. I just want something – anything – to grow. It is a great cause, raising money and awareness for men’s health.

Luke Fellows via Facebook: Who is your favourite Friends character?

My girlfriend is obsessed with Friends and so I have seen a fair few episodes. I’m a Ross man. Or maybe Monica.

Matthew Chilvers on Facebook: Who inspired you to take up rugby?

My parents got me involved in rugby really. My mum – keen to get me out of the house – signed me up for Maidenhead RFC at the age of five and my dad used to play at school as well.

It wasn’t just rugby though. I did judo, tennis, football, hockey, athletics, I even represented the school chess team. I played one match, won it and retired with a 100% record. I did school plays as well. I did everything.

That is what I tell people. Don’t try and be a professional sportsperson from the age of four, just enjoy life and sport.

Jarryd Harris via Twitter: Apart from yourself, who has the best banter in the England squad?

I actually think Billy Vunipola is very funny. I really like Ellis Genge’s banter. He looks like Drederick Tatum from The Simpsons, but has a very friendly demeanour and is very funny.

Nic Melton via Facebook: Do you think rugby is the best sport in the world? And if so, why?

I think it is right up there. I wish that more people would enjoy it as much as I do. The excuse that people give is that they don’t understand what is going on – it is not that complicated. If you can understand American Football, you can easily get your head around rugby.

It has values that people respect. It has teamwork, camaraderie, it is sociable, rewards hard work and is great for your health.

I love the goals and skill of football, but rugby is all action. There is always a collision, a tackle, a break – you very rarely get a poor game.

Andy Madden via Twitter: Ever fancied giving rugby league a go?

I would love to have tried NRL.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37865397