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James Haskell talks to Annie Vernon

What a Flanker/Mind games

Winter Weekend 2020, 

One of rugby’s most ferocious flankers and biggest characters, James Haskell has had an extraordinary, global experience of the game, having played for the Wasps, Northampton and England, and in New Zealand, France and Japan. After 17 years and with 77 international caps, he has a lot to say about rugby life – from pitch to pub and everywhere in between.

Throughout her career as one of the world's top athletes, Olympic Silver Medallist Annie Vernon struggled with an existential question about the purpose of sport in our comfortable, first-world society: why do we do it? What is it about our psyche that makes pushing the mind and body to their limits in order to win a foot race, a swimming race or a rowing race such a basic human desire? Having retired from competition, Annie decided to look for answers to these questions in the world of mind games. What is the psychology behind sport at an elite level and are there differences between the individual psychology required for elite team sports as opposed to individual sports?