Haskell won't rule out France stay
January 23, 2011
James Haskell could extend his stay in France © Getty Images
James Haskell has refused to rule out the possibility of extending his stay in France with Stade Francais.
The England flanker moved to Paris from Wasps in 2009 and found his feet quickly in the Top 14, although his future, and that of fellow France-based internationals Tom Palmer and Jonny Wilkinson, was thrown into doubt by an RFU edict stating that overseas players will not be considered for England duty after this year's Rugby World Cup aside from in 'exceptional circumstances'.
Wilkinson has since signed a new two-year deal with Toulon and Haskell could also fly in the face of convention, and criticism from Wasps legend Lawrence Dallaglio, if he decides that a further spell in France is the best thing for him personally.
"If I'd listened to everyone before I moved to Stade, I would never have left Wasps," he told The Daily Mail. "You can't be bullied into making a decision. You've got to do what you think is best for you.
"No-one respects Lawrence Dallaglio more than me. He's always been one of my heroes. But he never left England to play for anyone else, so I don't know how he can comment on whether it's a good idea or not. I have and I understand that it's an important part of a player's career. I've had more career and indeed life development in the past 18 months at Stade than I have throughout my previous career."
Haskell admitted that the RFU's letter is 'food for thought' but also laid out his belief that moving clubs in the immediate aftermath of a World Cup can be damaging to players.
"The letter the RFU sent out to the players concerning non-selection for those foreign-based is food for thought," he said. "My goal is always to play for England but the letter also states that this is designed to prevent English players from moving abroad. It's not aimed at those who have existing contracts.
"Besides, it's very difficult joining a new club straight after a World Cup. It means that when you finally hook up with your new team-mates in November they've had a full preseason under their belts and seven or eight games. Moving for the sake of moving is dangerous."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"I think in a couple of seasons London Irish can be a genuine force and contenders for the Premiership." Tom Hamilton talks to Brian Smith
"I hate this talk of survival, we are going there to compete." Tom Hamilton talks to London Welsh's Justin Burnell and Matt Corker
The latest Week in Pictures takes in Madagascar, Nick Cummins and all the latest photographs from Super Rugby
Tom Hamilton looks at the implications of Ulster's state of upheaval on the Ireland team