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EXCLUSIVE: Haskell on Saints signing


EXCLUSIVE - 'Nervous' Haskell fears Hartley will make him change in portable toilet

James Haskell is confident his move from Wasps to Northampton Saints next season will help him avoid the P45 he believes Eddie Jones, the England head coach, keeps in his pocket.

Haskell’s position with England is under intense scrutiny following Jones’s decision to rest the 77 cap flanker for the three test series with South Africa next month.

The 33-year-old today admitted he is disappointed to be rested, but is adamant he remains a contender for next year’s World Cup in Japan and is already planning for his first full pre-season training programme since he was 21-years-old. He said: “ I wouldn’t be speaking out of turn by saying I am always disappointed not to be involved with England.

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“As long as Eddie is not saying “mate here is your P45” – he is probably carrying mine around at all times – all I can be is the best player I can and take it from there. I love playing for England and it is my motivating factor every single day and when you are not involved you quickly reassess your priorities.

Mine is to fight for an England place and I will have to play well for Saints next season once I have fought my way into a squad that has a lot of quality players.

“I wasn’t getting overly stressed by the situation over a new club – maybe my fiancée was – but it was a weird one because I had received a few very different offers and I had to decide what was best for what I wanted to achieve at this stage of my career.

“I had to bide my time and make the right decision and there were opportunities in France and in Super rugby and I did look at those exciting options along with chatting to some Premiership clubs.

“I am very excited about what is happening at Northampton and they have been Wasps nemesis beating us a number of times. I am actually living closer to Northampton’s training ground than Wasps.”

England’s James Haskell leaves the field at Twickenham

Haskell, who has only ever played for Wasps in the Aviva Premiership in a career that has seen him wear the colours of Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams and the Highlanders, met with the Northampton players at Christian Day’s testimonial match before the deal was signed. He said: “I will be nervous because I have never played for another Premiership club and I will have to turn up in my best school uniform for the first day of Saints training. It was important to know that I would be received well at the club and it was very positive and that helped my decision.

“Knowing Dylan(Hartley) and the other England boys at the club I will probably be told to change in a portaloo and make them tea as I earn my spurs. When you have been at a club for a long time you are at the top of the pile and in the senior changing room. Now, I am starting at the bottom again.”

Haskell is hoping to play his part in Wasps bid to reach a second successive Premiership play-off final when they take on Saracens in the semi-finals on Saturday at Allianz Park.

“My time with Saints starts when the season ends with Wasps and hopefully that won’t be until the final at Twickenham. It is sad to be leaving Wasps and it is important I finish in the right way before I start an exciting new chapter.”

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EXCLUSIVE - 'Nervous' Haskell fears Hartley will make him change in portable toilet