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Haskell prefers leg tackle to Irish 'choke'


James Haskell

James Haskell

James Haskell

England flanker James Haskell has entered the debate over the choke tackle by dismissing it as a mere sideshow that will have little influence on Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland.

The technique became a talking point at the start of the week when Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards declared it was "very dangerous" and a "blight on the game" that should be outlawed.

In executing it, a tackled player is deliberately hit man and ball around the chest and shoulder area and prevented from going to ground. This creates a maul situation and can gain the defending team a turnover scrum.

The choke tackle was devised by Ireland and they remain its finest exponents, while England view it as a tool to be used sparingly knowing that if executed poorly, it could cost them valuable yards.

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree regards Haskell as most accomplished at the technique among his players, but the blindside flanker is keen not to overstate its value.

"It's not a skill I look to use, I'd much rather be a leg tackler and destructive tackler," Haskell said.

"My focus was always leg tackling - I came out of the (former England and Wasps back row) Joe Worsley school of tackling. I learnt a lot from him.

"Some teams can employ it as a tactic. Andy Farrell is our defence coach and he never talks about using it.

"We're all about being physical and getting guys to ground and I much prefer doing that."