James Haskell: England flanker wants to stay in Premiership after leaving Wasps

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter
James Haskell is tackled by Italy's flanker Simone Favaro during the 2017 Six Nations match between England and Italy
James Haskell says playing for England is his priority

James Haskell says he is prepared to turn down lucrative offers overseas in order to continue his England career through to the 2019 World Cup.

The 32-year-old is currently without a club for next season after it was announced he would be leaving Wasps in the summer.

RFU rules state that a player must be playing club rugby in England in order to be selected for the national side.

"Anything that cuts off my future with England is not worth it," he said.

Moving to France or Japan would render Haskell unavailable for Eddie Jones' international squad - and he says he will do "everything he can" to stay in England.

Haskell's departure will end a 15-year association with Wasps, but he says he has no hard feelings after being judged surplus to requirements at the Ricoh Arena.

He says there are currently "a few chats ongoing" with other Premiership clubs.

James Haskell during an open England Rugby training session at Twickenham Stadium
Haskell took part in England's open training session at Twickenham

"If you leave the country your England career is over, and I would rather Eddie ended it for me than me ending it myself," Haskell told BBC Radio 5 live.

"At the moment I am looking at different options, but my priority is this England squad, and I will do whatever it takes to stay in it.

"It's about trying to be involved in that 2019 World Cup, so whatever decision is going to help me be here, I will take that."

Haskell is available for selection again after a four-week suspension for a dangerous tackle, and is part of the England squad preparing for the Calcutta Cup match with Scotland at Murrayfield on 24 February.

England's Six Nations fixtures
Sunday 4 FebruaryItaly W 46-15
Saturday 10 FebruaryWales W 12-6
Saturday 24 FebruaryScotland (a)
Saturday 10 MarchFrance (a)
Saturday 17 MarchIreland (h)

England took part in open training on Friday in front of 10,000 supporters at Twickenham, a session Haskell describes as "the hardest" he has ever done in his career.

Boss Jones has brought Haskell back into the frame after leaving him out for the autumn series.

"To miss out and then come back in, and to see the standard being raised, has been really exciting," he said.

"If there is an opportunity [against Scotland] I will take it with both hands, and if not I will keep plugging away."

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