After announcing his retirement from professional rugby at the end of the season, many players have taken to social media to pay tribute to James Haskell’s career.
After only managing four appearances for Northampton Saints this season due to toe and ankle injuries, the 77-cap England flanker has called time on his career which has seen him play for Wasps, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams and the Highlanders, before joining the Saints at the beginning of this season.
Since making his debut for Wasps in 2002, Haskell has gone on to become one of the biggest characters in the game. This is something that has been echoed by many of his teammates, with Elliot Daly saying “no changing room will be the same again”.
What also seems apparent from many of these posts is Haskell’s professional attitude. The 34-year-old has been renowned as one of the hardest workers in English rugby, and the fact that he has only improved as his career has progressed is testament to that.
Despite making his debut for England in 2007 as a 21-year-old, he perhaps played his best rugby under Eddie Jones over the past four years, which is a by-product of his tireless attitude. This is what his former team-mates have said:
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Sad to hear that @jameshask has made the tough decision to call time on an unbelievable career. Everyone who knows him has a number of good stories about Hask, he is one of the greatest spice merchants in the game. But he has always been a gentleman (off the field) and the utmost professional at all times. Wish you well in the next chapter… ?
— mike tindall (@miketindall13) May 7, 2019
Congratulations @jameshaskell on a wonderful career. Always a great team mate and true competitor on the field. I wish we had more time together but enjoyed every minute. All the best in shmisness. You’ll shmooze the living daylights out of everything in front of you. #greatbloke
— Sam Burgess (@SamBurgess8) May 7, 2019
Congrats @jameshaskell on a hell of a shift mate! Enjoyed playing with & against you even with your terrible chat but you’ve put a smile on people’s faces! I’m sure you’ll be as relentless & successful in retirement! 1 in 10 of your gags are funny so persistence beats resistance!
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) May 7, 2019
Congrats @jameshaskell on an amazing career. Sucessful in Japan, France, NZ & England. ????. ?
@jameshaskell Big Hat Tip? Hask on not only a great rugby career but always being a real character in the game on and off the pitch….I see you have made it clear it’s all forms so take from that the 7’s comeback is off the table ?????? https://t.co/auQYJqgqNf
— Mike Friday (@MikeFriday09) May 7, 2019
He is also the only player to have played at least one game for England every year for the past 12 years, which is an indication of his longevity.
He has not necessarily always been a first choice for England, particularly as he has been branded a ‘6 ½’, as mentioned by Chris Robshaw, but as he said on Instagram: “I have spent my entire career trying to be the very best player I could be.”
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