- Made England debut in 2007
- He earned 77 Test caps
England and Northampton Saints flanker James Haskell has announced he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The 34-year-old has endured an injury-plagued campaign with Saints this term, struggling with recurring ankle and toe problems, and after 77 Tests in an England shirt spanning 11 years, the flanker has decided to call time on his rugby career.
“I have loved every minute of my career in rugby and feel very privileged to have played with and against some exceptional players,” said Haskell.
“There are so many people to thank, but in particular I would like to express my appreciation for all the coaches, trainers and physios who I have worked with throughout my career - from Maidenhead minis all the way up to England and the British & Irish Lions, I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.
“I also want to thank all my team mates over the years for putting up with me and giving me an adventure that allowed me to laugh every single day," he added.
“Retiring is obviously a really difficult decision for me to make; professional rugby has been the centre of my life for such a long time now and while it’s weird to imagine living without it, I look to the future with huge excitement.
“I look back at my career and have been very lucky to have done most things there are to do in rugby. Sadly, I will never know what it’s like to win a World Cup or represent the Barbarians.
“Finally, I would not have achieved what I have in this sport without the continued support of my amazing wife, my family, and my friends. To them all, I am incredibly grateful.”
In addition to his 77 England caps - where he featured in two world cups and won three six nations titles - Haskell made over 200 appearances for Wasps, splitting two spells at the club with stints at Stade Français, Ricoh Black Rams and the Highlanders, as well as touring with the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand in 2017.
England head coach Eddie Jones, who selected Haskell on 15 occasions, paid tribute to his career.
“When I look back at my time coaching James, it will always bring a smile to my face,” he said. “It was a privilege to coach him, but also great fun. He’s what I’d describe as a ‘glue’ player - someone who always tries to bring a squad together.
“His tour to Australia in 2016 sticks in my mind. He was absolutely outstanding on that tour, amazingly physical, uncompromising and just totally dominant.
“Despite injuries preventing him from achieving his goals this season, he should be remembered for a great career and as someone who never gave less than 100 per cent for club and country.
“Not only a superb player, but also one of the game’s great characters; rugby will be poorer without the old fella.”