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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

England back row James Haskell to leave Wasps at the end of the season

A suspension, though, has cost him a chance of playing in England's first two Six Nations matches of this year's tournament

England's James Haskell during training at Penny Hill Park, Bagshot. Paul Childs / Reuters
England's James Haskell during training at Penny Hill Park, Bagshot. Paul Childs / Reuters

Veteran England back-row forward James Haskell is to leave English Premiership giants Wasps at the end of the season when his present contract is up, the club announced on Wednesday.

Haskell, 32, who has been capped 75 times since making his Test debut in March 2007, has had two spells at Wasps; firstly from 2002-09, helping his side lift the European Cup in 2004 and 2007, before moving onto foreign fields first with Stade Francais and then to Japanese outfit Ricoh Black Rams and a season with New Zealand Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders.

However, Haskell, who has appeared in two World Cups, returned to Wasps in 2013 and quickly made himself an indispensable figure in the England team surviving the 2015 World Cup debacle, where he spent more time on the bench than on the pitch, to still figure in Eddie Jones' plans.

A suspension, though, has cost him a chance of playing in their first two Six Nations matches of this year's tournament, against Italy in Rome this weekend and the following week at Twickenham against Wales.

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"Hask goes back a long way with Wasps," said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

"Since starting in the academy as a teenager he has played around 200 games including a spell as club captain, which is a great achievement.

"I have no doubt whatsoever, given his character and loyalty to this club, that he will remain fully committed until the end of the current campaign."

Haskell, who played in two of the British & Irish Lions Tests last year in the thrilling drawn series with world champions New Zealand, said he had no definite plans of his next club.

"I have had a fantastic career at Wasps and would like to think I have played a part in the club's success over the years," Haskell said.

"I am looking forward to the next phase of my career; I wish all the players and officials at Wasps all the best for the future and will give my usual 100 per cent for the rest of the season."

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