ENGLAND star James Haskell is determined to win silverware with Wasps after comitting his future to the Aviva Premiership club for the next two seasons.
The 30-year-old, who is the club’s current co-captain alongside Matt Mullan, has made 160 appearances since becoming the youngest player to represent Wasps on the professional stage as an 18-year-old back in 2002.
Haskell has won the Premiership title and Heineken Cup during his time at Wasps and although he enjoyed two seasons at French powerhouse Stade Francais, as well as a stint in Japan, he returned in 2012 and was voted Players’ Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season.
“It is the only Premiership club I have ever known and feels like home, even after my stint around the world,” said Haskell, who has also gone on to win 62 caps for England, which has included competing in two Rugby World Cups.
“I supported Wasps as an avid fan from the age of 13, so to be able to extend my stay, and lead the boys out as captain, is a dream come true.
“Obviously it wasn’t a decision I took lightly as being 30 it was really important I chose a team that I felt were going to compete and ultimately win silverware.
“I am motivated personally by always trying to improve and have a burning desire to win more silverware.
“With Dai Young in charge and our owner Derek Richardson at the helm, I felt Wasps were a team that would do that. We have a developing and exciting squad that I feel will continue in an upwards trajectory and only get better. It’s an honour to be part of that process.
“As a club, we are starting a new chapter in Coventry with old and new fans, who have been out of this world in their support for the team. To front the move and start a new chapter is very exciting.”
Wasps have also confirmed this week that back row star Nathan Hughes has extended his contract with the club.
Hughes joined Wasps from Auckland ahead of the 2013/14 season and after a quiet start due to a knee injury, he has gone on to become one of the standout performers in the Aviva Premiership.
This season, Hughes has gone from strength-to-strength, winning November’s Aviva Player of the Month, with standout performances putting him in contention for international recognition.
“We have secured our own home and have seen some really exciting players joining Wasps and I really want to be part of the club moving forwards,” said the bulldozing back row.
“We know success won’t happen overnight and there is a lot of work to do, but long term we really want to be a squad winning silverware – that has to be the ambition.”
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young said he is thrilled that both players had committed their future to the club and praised their influence in helping Wasps settle in Coventry.
He added: “James has been an outstanding captain for us, as well as one of our key performers over the past few seasons. His decision to extend his contract shows his belief in this squad and the direction the club is moving in.
“As one of our senior players, James will play an integral part in the squad’s development, helping to drive standards and performance. He is excited by the leadership role and I am sure he will continue to excel at it.
“Nathan has made a huge impact since joining Wasps and the great thing is there is so much more to come from him. He is only 24 and is still raw in some aspects of the game, having only made the switch from hockey to rugby at 17.
“Given his growing performances this season, it’s no surprise many are talking about him as an international prospect for England when he qualifies over the summer.
“We’re fortunate to have strength in depth to our back row options. There’s plenty of talent in that area, with young guys coming through. For them to be able to learn from someone like George Smith, as well as from James Haskell, is hugely beneficial in their development, so we should be in a good place moving forwards.”
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