An Interview with Rugby Legend James Haskell

The original Be An Athlete brand ambassador, James Haskell, has had one hell of a year. Not only did he represent his country by playing for the England Rugby Squad during their New Zealand tour in June, but was also made captain of his rugby union team, The London Wasps. 

With next year’s Rugby World Cup looming over, and the official England squad as yet undecided, pressure is mounting on Haskell’s ‘coat hanger’ shoulders.  But before thing’s get too serious, we thought we’d catch up with James about his aspirations for the Wasps, his fears of turning 30, and what really goes on in a scrum...

1. What are your aspirations regarding your new captaincy of the London Wasps?

I am not a big one for setting public goals, as I am not sure it’s that helpful to do. However, personally I want to continue to let my playing do the talking for the Wasps team to reach its full potential. We have a great team of coaches and players; we need to be competing near the top. If Wasps go well, and you play well as an individual then things like international selection takes care of itself.

2. How do you jeer the team up before a match?

As a professional sportsman you should have that ability to always be up for games. However it’s not always possible, so my job is to articulate the key points we are taking into that particular game, make sure everyone’s mind is switched on, and ultimately, come that opening whistle, ensure we are prepared for battle. I try to judge the mood of the camp, as opposed to going in there with a pre conceived idea of what I am going to say.

3. Is there a strong ‘lad mentality’ in a squad? What’s the craziest thing you've got up to?

Ha ha - I am sure there are a lot of #lads in any rugby club, Wasps included. I am not sure I can give too much away, however, as you know the old saying: ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour.’

We are super professional 99% of the time, however, things can get a little over the top when we have a team social. There are often pretty outlandish fancy dress costumes, drinking games and punishements for poor behaviour during the season. One lad was punished for allowing his misses to post horrific romantic photos of them both with cheesy captions. The same bloke got done because he had a hangover and went to hospital with his mum because he felt so bad.

4. You turn 30 next year - what would you rather lose; your hair or your six pack?

Oh dear, that is a hard question. It has to be my hair. I think it’s starting to go now which is not good. I will have to get it sewn back in.

5. So, what really goes on in a scrum?

Nobody knows really. A lot of pushing! Gone are the days of any real skulduggery. It’s pretty boring, though props would have you believe that it's really complicated.

6. What legacy do you want to leave?

I just want to reach my potential for Wasps and England. I never want to look back and think that I could have done more. If my peers respect me for working hard, playing tough and being a good lad I’ll take that. Of course, winning as much as I can is key.

7. What do you look forward to eating most on a ‘cheat day’?

I love pizza, cake and chocolate really. So anything like that always goes down well.

8. We hear you’re a bit of a ‘ladies man’ - what’s the most memorable date you’ve been on?

Ha ha - I am not sure I am good looking enough to be a ‘ladies man.’ I have been on some pretty interesting dates if I am honest. Mainly for the wrong reasons, I went on a date with a girl who, after 30 seconds, I realised was my complete opposite in every way.  Everything we said to each other we just disagreed on, even small talk. She actually got me so annoyed I thought about just jumping out the window and running off. I stayed the whole date but never saw here again.

9. Is there anyone you fear on the rugby pitch at the moment?

I don't really fear anyone. There are people that it’s better not to play because you know it’s going to hurt tackling them, and you have to be on top of your game to do it. Henry Tuilagi, or in fact any of the Tuilagi brothers.

10. Tell us one thing no one knows about James Haskell.

I never wanted to be a rugby player; I always wanted to either join the Special Forces or drive a digger all day long.

Got any other questions for James? Let us know in the comment box below and we’ll try and get an answer for you. And if you want to get the ‘Haskell’ look, check out the Be An Athlete Premium Tracksuit, but be warned, it’s only for the most serious of athletes...

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