Fixtures - Top Bar

Skipper Haskell ready for Wasps’ new era

James Haskell may be inextricably linked to the Adams Park era at Wasps, but the captain admits he is relishing the chance to lead out his side for the first time at the Ricoh Arena.

The England international made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in 2002 when the club marked their first ever game in High Wycombe with a pre-season triumph over Connacht.

After 12 years at Adams Park that saw Haskell venture abroad for three years before returning in 2012, Wasps bade an emotional farewell last weekend as they secured a 44-17 victory over Castres in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Wasps are now hoping to get back to winning ways in Aviva Premiership Rugby when they host rivals London Irish in the opening fixture at their new home on Sunday.

And with ticket sales storming past the league home ground attendance record of 24,000 and Guinness providing free coach travel for season ticket holders, Haskell admits there is a welcome buzz around the move to Coventry.

“Our fans are extremely important to us and it is crucial that we look after them, so with Guinness putting on these coaches it means we can repay the fans that have stuck with us,” he said.

“The club may have moved ground but we are the same Wasps and need to involve the same people and it’s also a thank you for their continued support.

“I’m the last man standing here that played in the very first game at Adams Park so I had that added emotion for the final game, but this team has changed hugely.

“There were some great victories and good memories for Wasps there, it was our home for a long time and we wanted to do it justice.

“To beat the attendance record is fantastic but longevity is the key so we have to get a result in that first game at the Ricoh because we want people to keep coming back week in, week out.”

While the Exiles fell to their fifth consecutive league defeat last time out against Gloucester Rugby, Haskell has warned his players to underestimate Brian Smith’s side at their peril.

And while the England star downplayed the significance of the sides’ previous London-based rivalry, he has called on the home crowd to help Wasps easily settle into their new surroundings.

“From a players’ point of view, we have to make sure that we perform in that game against London Irish as I’m sure they would love to come and spoil the party,” he said.

“But it doesn’t matter exactly who we are playing, they would want to come along and spoil it, which will add the extra competitiveness.

“They’ll know that we haven’t played there before so it’ll be unfamiliar ground for both sides.

“Yet while it might seem like an away game, hopefully with all the fans and the passion in the stadium it will help us quickly make the stadium our own.”

From 9am on Boxing Day get 20 per cent off a limited number of tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click this link to take advantage of this great offer

Latest News

Meet Sale Sharks’ Curry twins – Ben and Tom

When Tom and Ben Curry travel with the England squad to Argentina, they will be looking to claim a record…

Ben and Tom Curry

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Saracens make final as Bath fall short

Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens are into their third European Rugby Champions Cup final in four years after defying a…

Karl Dickson to retire at the end of the season

Harlequins scrum-half Karl Dickson has today (Monday 24th April) announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of…

Karl Dickson

Northampton Saints appoints new chief executive 

Northampton Saints has today announced that Mark Darbon is to be the club’s new chief executive. Darbon arrives at Franklin’s…

Mark Darbon

Donncha O’Callaghan signs new Worcester Warriors deal

Warriors are delighted to announce that British & Irish Lion Donncha O’Callaghan has signed a new deal with the Club.…

Donncha O'Callaghan

Match reaction: Stade Francais 28 Bath 25

Francois Louw praised Bath Rugby’s battling spirit but was left disappointed as they lost a dramatic European Challenge Cup semi-final…

Match Report: Stade Francais 28 Bath Rugby 25

Bath Rugby narrowly missed out setting up an all-Aviva Premiership Rugby final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a…

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Saracens and Gloucester Rugby celebrate Cup finals

Saracens and Gloucester Rugby are both celebrating places in this season’s European Rugby finals after the Aviva Premiership Rugby sides…

Match Reaction: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Gloucester Rugby director of rugby David Humphreys hailed his side’s ‘unbelievable effort’ as they produced a stirring defensive display to…

Match Reaction: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mark McCall hailed Saracens’ amazing defence after they withstood a first-half assault against Munster and emerged victorious to book a…

Match Report: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Billy Burns scored all of Gloucester Rugby’s points and the Cherry & Whites produced an impressive defensive display to down…

Match Report: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mako Vunipola and Chris Wyles scored vital tries as Saracens booked their place in the European Champions Cup final with…

Saracens ready for titanic Munster challenge

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is expecting little sign of weakness from Munster when the two sides clash in…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

The semi-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup will be played in front of sell-out crowds in Dublin and Lyon…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals