After rumours broke last night, James Haskell and Northampton Saints have officially tied the knot on Twitter.
The back-row forward has put pen to paper on a one-year deal at Franklin’s Gardens, becoming Saints’ seventh signing ahead of the 2018/19 season.
The club and player broke the news in unusual fashion on Twitter.
Hi Guys, I’m not being funny but i tick some of those boxes and i am currently looking for a job. I have had one hell of a paper round, and a digger comes standard. The good chat is down to interpretation, but I would give it a sold 6/10. Let me know pic.twitter.com/2GXJp2tI0C
— James Haskell (@jameshaskell) May 14, 2018
Currently rested by England, Haskell specified that he would only sign for a Premiership club as he wishes to keep alive the dream of playing for England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Haskell made over 200 appearances in a 12-year career at Northampton’s Aviva Premiership rivals Wasps, splitting two spells at the club with stints across the globe at Stade Français, Ricoh Black Rams, and the Highlanders – playing on almost every stage world rugby has to offer.
But Haskell has also excelled at international level for over a decade, earning 77 caps to date for England and getting called up to the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad that toured New Zealand – playing against a Hurricanes side led by Saints’ new director of rugby Chris Boyd.
“I’m really excited and humbled to be joining a giant of English rugby in Northampton Saints,” said Haskell.
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“Having had the opportunity to play against them for many years now, I know this is a Club with a proud history and a set of passionate and loyal supporters who always make their presence felt.
“It’s no secret that I want to continue my international career for as long as possible; the only way I can do that is by putting my best foot forward in club rugby and helping Saints fight their way back into contention for silverware.
“There’s a real buzz around Franklin’s Gardens at the moment with the arrival of Chris Boyd, a new coaching team being put in place and a number of top-quality players also joining the squad. I can’t wait to get started in Black, Green and Gold.”
Standing at 6ft 4in and 118kgs, Haskell can play in any of the three positions across the back-row and brings a wealth of experience to Saints’ squad having won both the Premiership and Heineken Cup titles at Wasps.
With England, Haskell has been selected for two Rugby World Cups and won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2016 – the same year he was named ‘Man of the Series’ in the Red Rose’s whitewash of the Wallabies in Australia.
“We’re thrilled to have captured James’ signature for next season, as he’s a player that can bring so much to Saints,” said Northampton’s new director of rugby Boyd.
“Not only is he a superb leader with bags of experience at the very highest level, but James is clearly still extremely hungry to win trophies in club and international rugby.
“His record speaks for itself and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent fit for Northampton, both in the side and within the Club.”
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