James Haskell announces his retirement from rugby

England international James Haskell has announced his retirement from rugby. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England international James Haskell has announced that he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Haskell, 33, has won 77 caps for England since making his international debut in 2010, winning the Six Nations on three occasions.

The flanker signed for Northampton Saints last year but he has only made five appearances for the club due to injury and he has decided to call time on his playing career at the end of the campaign.

"I have loved every minute of my career in rugby and feel very privileged to have played with and against some exceptional players," said Haskell in a statement.

"There are so many people to thank, but in particular I would like to express my appreciation for all the coaches, trainers and physios who I have worked with throughout my career -- from Maidenhead minis all the way up to England and the British & Irish Lions, I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.

"I also want to thank all my team mates over the years for putting up with me and giving me an adventure that allowed me to laugh every single day.

"My thanks go out to the supporters here at Northampton Saints too who have welcomed me with open arms; I wish I'd been able to offer more on the field this season. This next chapter was supposed to go a very different way, however that is the nature of professional sport. I've never spent so much time injured in my entire career, but I'm doing everything I can to help the squad here until my contract ends."

The forward spent the majority of his playing time with Premiership club Wasps during two spells where he secured three league titles and a European Champions Cup.

He added: "Retiring is obviously a really difficult decision for me to make; professional rugby has been the centre of my life for such a long time now and while it's weird to imagine living without it, I look to the future with huge excitement.

"I look back at my career and have been very lucky to have done most things there are to do in rugby. Sadly, I will never know what it's like to win a World Cup or represent the Barbarians.

"Finally, I would not have achieved what I have in this sport without the continued support of my amazing wife, my family, and my friends. To them all, I am incredibly grateful."