James Haskell: England flanker determined to play for two more years

James Haskell
James Haskell has won 75 caps playing for England

England and Lions flanker James Haskell says he is "playing for a contract" in the final year of his Wasps deal.

The 32-year-old rejoined Wasps in 2013, four years after first leaving for stints with Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams and Highlanders.

He says he is determined to play for at least two more years before retiring.

"There is motivation everywhere. I am playing for a deal at Wasps and to get back into the England side," added Haskell.

"I would like to think I have two or three years left and the most important factor for me is do everything I possibly can to be the best rugby player I can be," said Haskell, who has won 75 caps playing for England.

"There is a different mindset, you have to start looking even more at what you are going to do outside of rugby.

"And everybody I meet who has retired says the real world is terrible, and you should play as long as you can."

After initially missing out on selection for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, Haskell was called up to the squad as a replacement for the injured Billy Vunipola.

He appeared in four tour matches, but was not involved in any of the three Tests as the series ended in a draw.

"I think I maximised it as much as I could," said Haskell. "I left no stone unturned in trying to enjoy myself and play the best rugby I could and be as committed as I could be, because it's such an honour.

"I was disappointed not to get opportunities with the Test team, but I loved every moment of it, got to meet players and find out who the good lads are, which turned out to be 99% of them."

'Five weeks off for the first time in 15 years'

After a five-week break, during which time he had surgery on a finger injury, Haskell says he is looking to tinker with his style of play in order to become a better player.

"It's the first five weeks I have ever had off in a 15-year career," he added.

"I let my hair down, put on a bit of weight, but now I am on a full rebuild trying to come back a better player than I have ever been.

"I want to try and play a bit differently this season. I have changed things up and I am looking forward to it."

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