Haskell to re-join Wasps - via Japan
July 3, 2011
Haskell will be back in Wasps colours for the 2012-13 season © Getty Images
England flanker James Haskell has re-signed with London Wasps on a three-year deal but will not link up with the Aviva Premiership club until the 2012-13 season.
The 26-year-old, who is set to feature in England's Rugby World Cup squad, will join the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan following the sport's showpiece event and then hopes to secure a Super Rugby contract before returning to English rugby's top flight the season after next.
Haskell, who won the last of his 34 Test caps in this year's Six Nations, represented Wasps from 2002 to 2009 before joining French Top 14 side Stade Francais where he spent two seasons before being released earlier this year. His return to Wasps follows a busy few months of recruitment for the club including the appointment of Dai Young as their new director of rugby earlier this week.
"I was very flattered and humbled by Wasps enthusiasm and commitment to re-sign me," explained Haskell. "As everyone knows my family and I were fans of Wasps long before I was privileged to be invited to join the Wasps Academy. So returning to the Club that has been pivotal in propelling me to where I am fortunate enough to stand today, was not one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make!
"Having said that I was very sorry having to leave Stade Francais. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Paris. I am grateful to the Club and in particular Max Guzzani for giving me the opportunity as he did. I will always remember my time in France with great affection. I believe I come back to Wasps both a better player and a more rounded individual as a result of my experiences abroad.
"I have had lengthy dialogue with the senior management at Wasps and am in no doubt as to their commitment and energy in endeavoring to restore the Club to its rightful position at the top of the tree. I am hugely encouraged by the quality of the new and proposed signings the Club has made.
"Wasps have been extremely far-sighted and generous in allowing me to continue my overseas adventures for one more season. I have a plan which seeks to maximise this unique opportunity before I return to Wasps, by experiencing playing the game in a number of different arenas."
Haskell is set to be coached by former Wasps boss Leon Holden at the Rams - who served as the club's interim director of rugby at the end of last season. "I hope by exposing myself to different coaching, cultures and playing styles, I will gain a greater understanding of the World game," explained Haskell, "which will hopefully only but be beneficial to both Wasps and myself for the 2012/13 season.
"When I went to Paris, I left behind many good friends at Wasps both on the playing side, management and supporters. I am looking forward with great excitement in renewing these friendships and building on the foundations that the previous greats of the club have laid down with such vigour and verve."
Wasps have always kept a close eye on Haskell's career path with the aim of eventually bringing him back the club. "We will be delighted to welcome James back to Wasps next year," said Wasps chief executive Chris Thomas. "James is one of the real success stories from the club's academy, coming right through our age-grade structure to become one of the best backrow players in the world. James is a world class player and everyone at the club is excited by his return."
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