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Haskell ready to lead for Wasps
MEET the new, improved James Haskell.
The model that left these shores three years ago has been upgraded with valuable add-ons and the 27-year-old is keen to pass them on to his new colleagues.
He said: “I'm still the same loud, brash guy, but I feel I've got a bit more leadership to my game now, a bit more responsibility and I feel I've got a better rugby brain than when I went away.
“But it's a new club, with new players and new coaches. It's like anywhere else when you first start, you've got to come in and earn your spurs.”
Earning his spurs might require something different second time around. The dynamism and fierce running that marked him out when he first burst onto the scene is a given, so is the action-man power, but now Wasps need a bit more from him.
In an emerging squad, a squad particularly rich in the back row, he will have to be a totem for the next wave.
He said: “There aren't so many senior players as when I first started. I started at the club when I was 17. Now I'm on the flip side, I've been on a few travels myself and I've now got to take responsibility and to set an example.
“I'm now working with guys like Sam Jones and Matt Everard and they're looking at me whereas I used to be looking at Joe Worsley and Lawrence Dallaglio.
“But I've always been keen to do little bits after training. After every session we try to get some of the young back rows to come and do a few little bits, and they help me as much as I help them.
“Every season you play you think you've got it cracked and then looking back you realise you didn't. You've just got to keep learning.”
Haskell will need to keep improving to reclaim his England shirt too.
He said: “It goes without saying my desire to keep playing for England. But if the club goes well and the team is winning then everything else takes care of itself.
“There is a lot of talent in that back row, Ashley Johnson, Billy Vunipola, Jonathan Poff, Joe Launchbury...these are all quality players so my attention has to be on Wasps first and foremost.”
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