Win James Haskell’s brilliant new book

James Haskell’s autobiography, What a Flanker, is riding high in the Sunday Times Bestseller List and reflects the colourful career of the former Wasps and England back-rower. You can read a review of the book here.

At the foot of this article, we’re giving you a chance to win one of six copies in a competition. First, here’s one of the many amusing tales from the book that relates to Haskell’s stint in Paris playing for Stade Français. He was living with team-mate Ollie Phillips at the time…

Ollie Phillips, Stade Francais

Flatmate: ex-England Sevens star Ollie Phillips played alongside Haskell for Stade Français (Corbis/Getty)

“We shared some tremendous memories, me and Ollie Phillips. Including the time we drugged a dog,” writes James Haskell. “Before I tell this story, I want to make it very clear that I love animals, particularly dogs. I’ve always had them and I’ve never mistreated them. But one weekend, the neighbours went away for a few days, left this little handbag dog behind and it didn’t stop barking.

After a day and night of this racket, which meant we couldn’t get any sleep, we took a look through a window to make sure it was okay. It had food and water, so it was fine on that front. But after a second night of barking and no sleep, we decided we were going to have to shut it up, by hook or by crook.

We bought some over-the-counter herbal sleeping pills, wrapped a quarter of one up in a slice of ham and chucked it through their kitchen window. Unfortunately, the dog just sniffed it before wandering off. So now there was a bit of sleeping pill wrapped in a slice of ham sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. You wouldn’t have had to be a Poirot to work out who’d put it there, so we were going to have to break in and retrieve the evidence.

James Haskell book cover

Ollie was nominated to climb through the window, on account of being about half my size, and he managed to grab the ham and slither back out again without the dog going mental and any other neighbours seeing. But we still hadn’t solved the problem of the dog’s barking.

So we crushed the bit of pill up, sprinkled it over the ham and chucked it back in. This time, the dog strolled straight over and wolfed it down, before me and Ollie watched with bated breath to see what would happen next. About five minutes later, the dog staggered across the kitchen and fell sideways into its basket. Mission accomplished, me and Ollie high-fived, went to bed and slept like logs. Which was a small mercy as we had a game the next day.

Win James Haskell's brilliant new book Haskell and wife Chloe 2017

Warm welcome: with wife Chloe at Heathrow after returning from the 2017 Lions tour to NZ (Inpho)

When our neighbours returned the following morning, we were hiding behind the curtains, snickering. They kept calling the dog’s name, but he was so out of it that when he finally woke up and got to his feet, he promptly fell sideways and went back to sleep. For about 48 hours, I’m not going to lie to you, I thought we might have killed him.

But we didn’t, and that’s the main thing. After that episode, we’d sometimes see him staring at us through the windows with an expression that said, ‘I know what you two f***ers did…’”

Now enter our competition to win James Haskell’s brilliant new book or buy it here

James Haskell’s autobiography, What a Flanker, is published by HarperCollins, RRP £20, and comes highly recommended. You can buy it by clicking on the link below.

* BUY NOW with Amazon

We also have six copies to give away. For a chance to win one, just answer the question below and fill in your details. The competition closes on Friday 4 December.

James Haskell quiz question Saracens v Wasps

Legend: Haskell was honoured to share a changing room with this former Wasp – but who is he? (Getty)

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Terms and conditions

The competition closes at 11.59pm on Friday 4 December 2020.
Six winners will be selected at random, each winning a copy of ‘What a Flanker’ by James Haskell.
Normal Future Plc competition rules apply. Competition details form part of these terms and conditions. Entry is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland except employees (and their families) of Future Plc, its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions. The winners must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition. The winner agrees to the use of his or her name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Future Plc relating to any post-winning publicity. The winners will be chosen from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material. Winners will be
confirmed in writing. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact a winner. Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize. If they cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision. Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time. The Service Provider and contact details are specified within the promotional material.