JAMES Haskell has been named captain of Wasps this season, taking over from centre Chris Bell.

Haskell, who has played 132 times for Wasps since making his debut as an 18-year-old, has also extended his contract with the club.

He said: “Wasps is so much a part of my life, having played here for nine seasons in total.

“I have a lot to thank the club’s coaches and support staff for, in helping me to get back into the England set up last season.

“I grew up supporting Wasps, which a lot of people don't realise. I have been a boyhood fan since I was 12.

“I had the privilege of learning from icons of the game here, like Lawrence Dallaglio, Joe Worsley and Paul Volley, and it is a huge privilege to now be in a position to lead the club.”

Director of Rugby, Dai Young said: “I am delighted that James has decided to extend his contract.

“It is an indication of the positive direction the club is moving in that players of his calibre and international experience are keen be a part of what we’re working hard to build.

“I was really impressed with James’ performances last year. The first season he returned to the club will have been frustrating for him as he had to carefully manage his return from a knee injury, but I thought last season he was absolutely outstanding.

“He was back on top of his game and performing consistently at the highest level.

“He has also demonstrated how much of a team player he is, and he is a good role model around the club and on the pitch.

“James shows real leadership qualities within the squad and we believe he will be an excellent captain.”

Bell has been named as vice captain with Matt Mullan.

Young said: “We know we will miss Haskell’s presence for chunks of the season as we expect his performances to put him in line for an England starting spot.

“However, we believe we have strong leaders within the squad and this season we have appointed two vice captains to support the captain.

“Matt Mullan will join Chris Bell in these roles. They are both hugely respected by the players and coaches.”