Get to know the gregarious Wasp as he discusses DJing, diggers and dinner party guests

James Haskell, the irrepressible Wasps stalwart, made his international debut back in 2007 and is now England’s third most-capped back-row behind Lawrence Dallaglio (85 Tests) and Joe Worsley (78). Here he takes time out for an offbeat chat with Rugby World

Do you have any phobias?

I’m not scared of much. In Australia last year I held a giant tarantula, which I could cope with, and in the house if I saw a dead bird or a mouse, I’d be able to deal with it. But if I had bugs crawling up my arm, I wouldn’t like it much.

What are your nicknames?

Hask is the most commonly used, but obviously to the younger guys in the squad it’s Sir or Mr Haskell. Ha ha!

Josh Bassett

The SLT: Josh Bassett makes a break for Wasps. Photo: Getty Images

What’s the funniest nickname at Wasps?

There are plenty but we signed the BLT during the summer – Paul Doran-Jones. It stands for Big, Lean and Tanned. Then there’s his sidekick, SLT. That’s Josh Bassett, who’s Skinny, Lean and Tanned.

Who are the squad jokers at Wasps?

I have to say Briefcase, Elliot Daly. That boy is like a giant child. I thought when he got engaged recently that it might make him more sensible, but it’s the opposite. He pranks me, jumps out at me and shouts at me. He’s been driving me absolutely mad lately.

Are there any practical jokes you can share with the public?

Oh, the usual. You come into training and find shoes on the roof. The last one was Joe Simpson deciding to put two boiled eggs in my brand-new boots. Thanks for that, mate.

What’s been your most embarrassing moment, on or off the field?

There’s a laundry list of them but the one I get the most grief for is running into the post against Wales in the Six Nations last year. The fact ten million people were watching meant I couldn’t really get away with it. People loved that and don’t stop reminding about it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Invite: Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of Haskell’s dream dinner guests. Photo: Getty Images

Who would be your three dream guests for a dinner party – and why?

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I’d start with Ricky Gervais because I like his sense of humour. Then I’d have Arnold Schwarzenegger just because he’s Arnie! Finally, I would have to go with Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor – let’s pick Floyd. He’s 50 and 0. Legend.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Well, I love driving diggers, if that’s a hidden talent. I’ll be getting my digger driving licence soon. I’ve
been obsessed with JCBs since I was a young child. They’re lending me one for six months and I’m going to drive it to training. I can’t wait.

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What annoys you?

Well, you can get in trouble on Twitter. There are so many potholes on there.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

It would have to be that girl who writes a load of nonsense in the Daily Mail, what’s her name… yeah, Katie Hopkins.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I DJ in my spare time. I like getting on the decks and playing to the crowd. And, on the quiet, I’m a complete Harry Potter nause as well. I know far too much about the books!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

World domination… nah, let’s go for something a bit more modest. I’d like to be a Hollywood movie star!

This article first appeared in the December 2017 issue of Rugby World