James Haskell has given his opinion on why so many countries see their clashes against England as the focal point of their championship.
“That’s what happens when you used to run the world, isn’t it? It’s down to empire building,” said England’s recalled back-row ball-carrier, Haskell.
“It’s an easy motivation factor for other sides because of the long, entrenched history. It’s very difficult for us to say that. If you know your history, we are partly to blame.
“When you play any country people always ask about the passion. If you’re playing the Scots, say, it’s the ‘auld enemy’ but we literally don’t care.
“I try to approach my life in sport with passion, intensity and a desire to come out on top and win.
“I don’t hate anyone. There are people I dislike but I don’t have that.
“When you’re playing for England you want to stay involved and you want to win – those are motivating factors enough.
“After losing against Scotland and France, it’s more important we put on a performance, get a victory and acquit ourselves well. What it means to Ireland is kind of irrelevant. We don’t talk about that.”