England flanker James Haskell signalled his intention to fight for a place in Eddie Jones' World Cup 2019 squad as it was confirmed that he has agreed to join Northampton Saints on a one-year deal - and the move has been welcomed by a new teammate and fellow England hopeful, who feels that Haskell has plenty to offer.
Haskell ends a five-year spell at current side Wasps at the end of this season - and the 33-year-old had been told by England bosses that he would be ineligible for selection for his country if he were not to find a new club.
Despite having a number of interests off the field, including television punditry roles, Haskell has remained keen to add to his 77 England caps and secure himself a spot on the plane to next year's tournament in Japan.
Per the Northampton Chronicle, Saints' Teimana Harrison, who will be competing with Haskell for a back row berth next season, believes that the veteran's presence will be of tremendous benefit to his new side and has backed him to be a success.
"He’s a really nice guy, he’s hard into his rugby where he always wants to improve and he’s another guy that wants to get back into England, so I think me and him can bounce off each other and teach each other a few things," enthused the 25-year-old, who has himself been capped six times for England.
"Obviously there is his banter and everything around the team are sure to lift morale so I think he’ll be good for us...Pretty much all of our back row is international so it’s good for the club and it’s good for us on a personal level."
Northampton will be hopeful that Haskell's experience can inspire them to improve upon their performance in this season's campaign - where they laboured to a ninth place finish.
Haskell must no doubt be pleased that he will continue to ply his trade at the top level of English rugby next season - in full view of the England set up.
A move abroad - or to a second tier English side - would surely have spelt the end of his Japan 2019 dream.
Harrison concluded that he was delighted to see another experienced player join the team so that he could continue to learn from the veterans of the game.
"We’ve been lucky in the last few years that we’ve had a few older guys, especially in the back row position, that I’ve been able to learn off so personally I’m really looking forward to it.
“If you’re not fighting for a spot in the team I don’t think you’re learning."
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