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‘Eddie Jones told England players FOUR YEARS AGO he would make them Rugby World Cup champions’, reveals James Haskell

James Haskell has revealed to talkSPORT of how Eddie Jones told the England team he would make them world champions when he took over as head coach four years ago.

The Red Rose completed one of the biggest wins in English rugby union history last weekend with a convincing victory over defending champions New Zealand in Yokohama – the All Blacks’ first defeat in a Rugby World Cup for 12 years.

England’s near-perfect display set up a final with South Africa, who narrowly beat Wales, and a chance for Jones to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time in his career.

England saw off tournament favourites the All Blacks to seal their place in the World Cup final

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England saw off tournament favourites the All Blacks to seal their place in the World Cup final

And, according to former back-rower Haskell, it will also be the fulfilment of a vow the Australian coach made in his first England team meeting when he was appointed in 2015.

Haskell, recalling that meeting, told the Sports Breakfast: “He addressed the team and said: ‘Look, we’re fifth or sixth in the world. Do you genuinely think you guys are the fifth of sixth best team in the world?’

“We said ‘no’.

“Then he said: ‘We’re going to work to be the best team in the world and we’re going to win a World Cup. We’re going to do it through hard work and sacrifice. I’m going to ask you to sacrifice things no coach has asked you to do before and we’re going to have to go to some uncomfortable places and we’re going to be very honest with each other’. And I believed him.

“Most coaches when they start off in a meeting like that, they talk about these things but after a while things fade and the usual standards set in, but Eddie has been relentless every single day for four years and that’s what’s got the guys to the final.

Eddie Jones has taken England back to the very top of world rugby after four years of graft

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Eddie Jones has taken England back to the very top of world rugby after four years of graft

“I’ve had coaches stand in front of me talking about winning and I’ve thought, ‘you guys haven’t even won a raffle let alone winning a World Cup or some silverware’.

“But Eddie did it with South Africa [as a coaching consultant in 2007]. He has authenticity through making mistakes himself and through failure. That’s what we ask for as a player, someone who has been there and done it.

“And we saw after the first two or three weeks how he completely changed the way we trained, the coaching staff around him, our standards, we were going to do things completely his way.

“The proof is in the pudding, he’s got this team to the World Cup final.”

Haskell has absolutely no doubt that the famous gold cup will be returning to England after this weekend’s final.

The RFU have confirmed London will host a victory parade for the team if they emulate England’s 2003 heroes by being crowned world champions.

And it appears Haskell has already booked his ticket.

England fans will aim to push their team over the line once again in Japan

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England fans will aim to push their team over the line once again in Japan

“I am 100 per cent backing England to win the World Cup,” he added.

“Having been very privileged to be with Eddie and the boys for three years, I’ve seen what they’re about.

“Things like being the underdogs or being favourites, they don’t really affect the players. They wake up every single day and prepare in exactly the same way.

“I was in the camp today and they are buzzing, they’re full of energy, they’re working as hard as ever. Training was very intense and there was no complacency.

“When you start a game it’s all equal, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done before or how well you played in the semi.

“But I believe they’ve just got to keep doing what they’re doing, play for each other like they did [against new Zealand] and they can get the win.”

Listen back to James Haskell on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

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