Wed 8 May 2019 | 03:59

Tributes to 'real character' Haskell

Tributes to 'real character' Haskell
Wed 8 May 2019 | 03:59
Tributes to 'real character' Haskell
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REACTION: 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 flank 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 byproduct of his tireless attitude.

This is what his teammates have said:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This is a day that I thought was going to be a while off, and done in different circumstances, but that is the nature of professional sport. It’s with a really heavy heart I announce my retirement at the end of the season from professional rugby. The last 25 years have been one hell of a journey that started at Maidenhead Rugby Club, went on via Papplewick School, Wellington College, Wasps, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams, The Highlanders, Wasps and finally Northampton Saints. This season has not gone as I scripted it and I am only sorry that I wasn’t able to play more for the great club that is Saints. My dream was to play for England and I manage to do that. All my actions were about trying to get more of those precious caps. I am so humbled to have got my chance. Playing for your country is the best feelings you can ever have! Touring with the lions is what dreams are made of. What a tour that was! I have honestly given this my very best shot, and tried to make the most of every moment. For those of you who don’t know me personally and only know the public/social media image you will think rugby was just a job to me, and I was always focusing everything else outside of my sport. However, that was never the real story. I have spent my entire career trying to be the very best player I could be. From the moment I woke to the moment I went to bed, my day was always about trying to improve. That meant sacrificing so much, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I want to thank every coach, trainer, physio and member of staff who has helped me along the way. Thank you to my family and to my amazing wife for your unwavering support, and finally thank you to all my team mates. I have honestly laughed my head off every day for 30 years. You made this journey what it was. I am excited about what the future holds.

A post shared by James Haskell (@jameshask) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Not bad for a 6 1/2 @jameshask , congratulations on a brilliant career mate

A post shared by Chris Robshaw (@chrisrobshawrugby) on

 

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Congratulations on a fantastic career @jameshask can’t wait to see what mountain you conquer next.

A post shared by Cobus Reinach (@cobus.reinach) on

Haskell’s career has seen him play in two World Cups, the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, as well as winning three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2016. He is also the only player to have played at least one game for England every year for the past twelve 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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Tributes To 'real Character' Haskell - England | Rugby365