James Haskell who will re-join Wasps on a three-year deal for the start of the 2012/13 season, after a season in Japan.
Haskell is to play in Japan after World Cup, but Wasps have ensured that the powerful back-rower will be back with his old club in time for the 2012/13 Premiership season in England.
Haskell represented Wasps from 2002 to 2009 after graduating from the club’s Academy, making his Premiership debut at just 18 when he became one of the youngest players to play in the competition coming on against Harlequins in September 2003.
He has gone on to have a highly successful international career winning 34 caps for England and is in the mix to compete at this summer’s Rugby World Cup. Haskell joined Stade Francais in 2009 where he spent two seasons but Wasps have always kept a close eye on his career path with the aim of eventually bringing the player back the club.
London Wasps Chief Executive, Chris Thomas said “We will be delighted to welcome James back to Wasps next year. James is one of the real success stories from the club’s academy, coming right through our age-grade structure to become one of the best back-row players in the world. James is a world class player and everyone at the club is excited by his return.”
Haskell’s return comes following a busy few months of recruitment for the club who have already added over 10 new senior squad signings for the coming season. The club also appointed Dai Young as Director of Rugby this week, with the ex-Wales international joining the club on a four year contract.
James Haskell said: “I was very flattered and humbled by Wasps enthusiasm and commitment to re-sign me. As everyone knows my family and I were fans of Wasps long before I was privileged to be invited to join the Wasps Academy. So returning to the Club that has been pivotal in propelling me to where I am fortunate enough to stand today, was not one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make!
“Having said that I was very sorry having to leave Stade Francais. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Paris. I am grateful to the Club and in particular Max Guzzani for giving me the opportunity as he did. I will always remember my time in France with great affection. I believe I come back to Wasps both a better player and a more rounded individual as a result of my experiences abroad.
“I have had lengthy dialogue with the senior management at Wasps and am in no doubt as to their commitment and energy in endeavoring to restore the Club to its rightful position at the top of the tree. I am hugely encouraged by the quality of the new and proposed signings the Club has made.
Haskell will play in Japan with the Ricoh Black Rams, the side now coached by Leon Holden, who was the club’s interim Director of Rugby at the end of last season. He then aims to play a season of Super 15 Rugby before returning to London.
He added: “Wasps have been extremely far-sighted and generous in allowing me to continue my overseas adventures for one more season. I have a plan which seeks to maximise this unique opportunity before I return to Wasps, by experiencing playing the game in a number of different arenas.
“I hope by exposing myself to different coaching, cultures and playing styles, I will gain a greater understanding of the World game, which will hopefully only but be beneficial to both Wasps and myself for the 2012/13 season.
“When I went to Paris, I left behind many good friends at Wasps both on the playing side, management and supporters. I am looking forward with great excitement in renewing these friendships and building on the foundations that the previous greats of the club have laid down with such vigour and verve.”