England back row Haskell commits to Wasps

James Haskell is expected to miss up to six months of rugby

English Premiership Rugby club Wasps have announced that club co-captain James Haskell has signed a new contract with the club.

The England back-rower has made 160 appearances since becoming the youngest player to represent Wasps on the professional stage. He made his debut in 2002 as an 18-year-old after graduating from the Wasps Academy.

The international back row is now one of England’s most experienced players, having won 62 caps for his country and competed in two Rugby World Cups.

During his first seven years at Wasps (2002 – 2009), Haskell was part of the sides that won Premiership and Heineken Cup titles.
He then headed overseas to experience new challenges. He enjoyed two seasons at French powerhouse Stade Francais and had a spell in Japan after the 2011 RWC with the Ricoh Black Rams, before moving to Super Rugby and the Otago Highlanders.

Haskell returned to Wasps in 2012, quickly becoming an integral part of the team again, being voted Players’ Player of 2013/14 and winning back his place in the England squad.

He was made club captain in 2014, succeeding Chris Bell, and led Wasps to a European quarter final against reigning champions Toulon last season.

James Haskell said: “I am delighted and over the moon to be extending my contract with Wasps. It is the only Premiership club I have ever known and feels like home, even after my stint around the world. I supported Wasps as an avid fan from the age of 13, so to be able to extend my stay, and lead the boys out as captain, is a dream come true.

“Obviously it wasn’t a decision I took lightly as being 30 it was really important I chose a team that I felt were going to compete and ultimately win silverware. I am motivated personally by always trying to improve and have a burning desire to win more silverware.

“With Dai Young in charge and our owner Derek Richardson at the helm, I felt Wasps were a team that would do that. We have a developing and exciting squad that I feel will continue in an upwards trajectory and only get better. It’s an honour to be part of that process.

“It was also important that I stayed in the UK to continue my quest to play for England again. Pulling on that white shirt is why I get up every day and I feel I still have more to give at that level.

“As a club, we are starting a new chapter in Coventry with old and new fans, who have been out of this world in their support for the team. To front the move and start a new chapter is very exciting.”

Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young added: “James has been an outstanding captain for us, as well as one of our key performers over the past few seasons. His decision to extend his contract shows his belief in this squad and the direction the club is moving in.

“As one of our senior players, James will play an integral part in the squad’s development, helping to drive standards and performance. He is excited by the leadership role and I am sure he will continue to excel at it. He was also a key influence in helping the club make a smooth transition to Coventry and we are thrilled he will continue to play a big part in Wasps’ future.

“‘Hask is a larger-than-life character, but he is also a true professional in his approach to the game and is always one of the last to leave training after doing extras. That drive to keep on improving is the reason he has produced some of his best rugby of his career over the past couple of seasons.

“James is hungry to continue playing for England and I think he’s a genuine option to go right through to the next World Cup.”

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