Who did James Haskell play rugby for?

James Haskell is certainly one of the biggest personalities in rugby over the last couple of decades and it can sometimes take away from the impressive career that Haskell had. 

Who did James Haskell play rugby for? James Haskell played internationally for England and the British and Irish Lions. Domestically he played for London Wasps, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams, Highlanders and Northampton Saints. 

James Haskell is one of the England stars over the last decade to have moved around a lot and played for teams in countries other than England. Due to England’s selection policy, it is rare to see international test players move abroad as they become ineligible for selection in an effort to better the Premiership. 

Teams James Haskell played for

London Wasps 

While Haskell has moved around a lot, his main team has always been Wasps. Haskell has spoken about in various interviews that he was a Wasps fan when he was younger, joining the team’s academy after playing rugby for Maidenhead Rugby Club. 

Wasps would be the perfect starting team for Haskell as while he made the step up into the senior team, he would play in the incredibly successful Wasps team of the 2000s. Haskell learned a lot from England superstars Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley. Haskell was very much seen as the next Dallaglio in his early days with Wasps. 

Haskell and the team had problems with contract negotiations in 2009, with Haskell saying that the team was messing him around and trying to pay him nothing. It caused Haskell to leave Wasps. 

But he would return to his boyhood club in 2013, adding another 118 appearances for Wasps in his second spell with the club. This second spell would be much less successful than the first, although Haskell did play all 100 minutes when Wasps reached the 2017 Premiership Final, losing to the Exeter Chiefs in extra time. 

Stade Francais 

When Haskell decided to leave Wasps some big offers were coming in. But many expected Haskell to stay in England as players rarely ever got capped for England when they did not play in England. 

Despite this, Haskell took a big risk by moving to French Side Stade Francais, joining Tom Palmer who also moved from Wasps to Stade Francais. It was a risky move from Haskell and he struggled his first season as Stade went through three different coaches before settling on former Australia head coach Michael Cheika. 

Haskell did manage to find a bit more consistency with Cheika in charge and credits the Australian for being a massive positive influence on his career. But despite this, Haskell would only remain at Stade for two seasons as he looked to continue playing his rugby across different countries. 

Ricoh Black Rams

After featuring for England at the world cup, he began looking for a new club when Haskell decided to play for Japanese team Ricoh Black Rams. With rugby in Japan becoming increasingly popular over the last decade, it was a move for Haskell that gave him a very different rugby experience. 

Despite only playing eleven games for the team, Haskell speaks incredibly highly of his time in Japan. He fell in love with the culture and also enjoyed playing with legendary New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu. Haskell enjoyed playing with the Kiwi so much that his next move would see Haskell play with a lot of New Zealanders. 


After his time in Japan, Haskell announced that he would join Super Rugby team Highlanders for the 2012-13 season. Haskell ended up only playing one season for the Highlanders as despite winning the first four games of the season, the Highlanders would struggle all the way down to ninth. 

Northampton Saints 

At the end of the 2017-18 season, it was announced that Haskell would be leaving Wasps at the end of the season but he did not want to hang up his boots. So Haskell moved a bit further up north to join the Northampton Saints for the 2018-19 season. 

It was an injury-riddled last season for Haskell with Northampton and he retired at the end of the season, having only played five times for the Saints. 


Haskell is currently tied as the fifteenth highest capped England international of all time, with more caps than England world cup winners like Mike Tindall, Steve Thompson and Phil Vickery. 

Haskell made his debut for England in the 2007 Six Nations when he was called into the starting lineup for the final game of the tournament against Wales. A year later, Haskell became key for England in their 2008 Six Nations campaign but lost his starting place a year later. 

Having taken a big risk to leave Wasps and pursue rugby elsewhere, the move paid off

because good performances for Stade Francais meant that Haskell returned to the England team in 2010, in part thanks to an injury to Tom Croft. 

Haskell would become a key part of the England team for the next few years, but many thought his place would be in jeopardy after England’s terrible performance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Instead, he became a favourite of new coach Eddie Jones and was man of the series when England won their tour of Australia 3-0 in 2016 as well as playing in both successful Six Nations campaigns of 2016 and 2017. Haskell would make his final appearance for England in March of 2018. 

British and Irish Lions 

Having been ignored for the 2013 Lions tour of Australia, Haskell looked unlikely to play for the Lions when the squad was announced for the 2017 tour as he was not involved. But Haskell did get his chance with the Lions, being called up as injury cover for Billy Vunipola. 

Despite not playing any of the test matches, Haskell would play four times for Lions on the tour, including starting at blindside against his former team the Highlanders in a 23-22 loss. In the test matches, Haskell was unable to get in the side ahead of rugby legends like Peter O’Mahony, Sam Warburton and Sean O’Brien. 

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