James Haskell’s hopes of finding a new club suffered a blow with another team ruling themselves out of the race to sign the England backrow.
Haskell is leaving Wasps at the end of the season and wants to remain in England with the 2019 Rugby World Cup on the horizon.
However, Gloucester have become the latest to withdraw from the running to sign the 33-year-old.
Head coach Johan Ackermann told the Daily Mail “We’re fine at loose forward department so we won’t be taking on James”.
Haskell has already said he won’t be joining Bristol, despite the newly promoted club spending heavily to prepare for their return to top flight, while London Irish’s imminent relegation has taken them out of the equation.
Worcester Warriors now appear to be the front-runners for Haskell, in February speaking on the Rugby Pod Facebook live former England and Wasps 10 Andy Goode – a friend of Haskell’s, said that that talks between Haskell and the club were in “advanced stages”.
Worcester have already lost David Denton to Leicester, but signed Cornell du Preez from Edinburgh, however Alan Solomons hasn’t flatly rejected the suggestion of picking up the 6’4, 114kg looseforward too.
“The way we work is that when we have got something concrete then we will announce it but what I am saying to you is we have got good strength in depth in our loose forwards.”
Northampton Saints could be another option, with a high number of players leaving Franklin’s Gardens, as Chris Boyd reshapes the squad for next season.
“My priority is going to a place that I’ll contribute to, will improve as a player and be competitive, and obviously keep me in the mix for England. I’ve got to make a big decision,” Haskell told Sky Sports in January.
“I’ve got to talk to my agent, sit down and look at the options. “I’m very sad to be leaving Wasps and I just want to keep being involved here [with England]. I want to play at a club that is competitive and is going to win silverware.”
Haskell has said will stay in the Premiership even if it means a pay cut as a result.
In an interview with the Guardian, Haskell spoke of the chance to appear in the 2019 Rugby World Cup: “It would essentially be a dream come true.”
“It’s a massive challenge but there would be a big pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. My priority is to stay in the Premiership. I’m fully aware if I go outside of that, then it’s game over. They are not going to make a dispensation for me, sadly.”
Haskell has made 77 appearances for England as well as playing for the British Lions and is hanging on as a marginal member of England’s Six Nations squad, having been called back into the squad after suspension. He featured from the bench in the defeat to France, while he started in the loss to Ireland.
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