England flanker Haskell to retire after injury-ravaged season
England flanker James Haskell will retire at the end of the season, his club Northampton Saints have announced.
Haskell joined the Saints from Wasps last year but has endured an injury-plagued campaign, playing only four times and prompting a decision to call time on his career.
The 34-year-old has 77 England caps and played at the last two Rugby World Cups, while he also featured in the Top 14 and Super Rugby at club level.
He last represented England in March 2018, failing to build his form and fitness for a recall this term.
"I have loved every minute of my career in rugby and feel very privileged to have played with and against some exceptional players," Haskell said in a Northampton statement.
"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."
[Eddie on Hask] "One of the game’s great characters...rugby will be poorer without the old fella.”— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 7, 2019
Here's a reminder why... pic.twitter.com/H7MFZq81hV
England coach Eddie Jones described Haskell as "one of the game's great characters".
"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."
Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said: "James has had a tough time with injuries this season and not run out for Saints as often as he'd like but, despite that, he's had a huge impact here and is an invaluable member of the squad.
"He brings to the table a vast amount of experience and is a consummate professional not to mention a superb example for our younger players.
"He has been a wonderful servant to the English game and I've no doubt he'll be just as successful in his retirement."