Haskell humbled and flattered by most unexpected Award
Wasps' James Haskell 'humbled' and 'flattered' by Twickenham award win
No-one was more surprised than James Haskell as he picked up a prestigious award at Twickenham last week, but the man himself admits he couldn’t have been more humbled.
Wasps back row Haskell won the Zebra Architects Professional Player of the Year prize at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards at Rugby HQ on Thursday, fighting off competition from England teammates Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Alex Goode.
Now in its second year, the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards are designed to honour the achievements of all the thousands of rugby clubs up and down the country.
The Awards provide recognition to clubs and players at every level of the game, as well as those who invest their time and energy into the sport in other ways.
And Haskell, who has won 70 international caps for England, insisted he couldn’t have asked to be in better company as he picked up his award.
“It’s amazing to have won, I never really win any award so it’s very humbling,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to get the opportunity, and see how much it means to everyone else who won awards.
“Rugby wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have the amazing grassroots elements to it. I grew up playing at Maidenhead Rugby Club since I was five years old, and if you go into any club round the country, they live and breathe what the national team do.
“Everyone is an aspiring professional rugby player and some of the older guys probably still think they should be, so I’m really flattered to be here and I hope grassroots rugby keeps growing and growing.”
Currently ruled out of playing through a toe injury, Haskell’s determination to continue his fine form of last season is providing the perfect motivation as he fights back to full fitness.
And with the British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand rapidly approaching on the horizon, he insists he has plenty to look forward to.
“I was really pleased with how last season went. As a player, you’re conscious of what people think,” he said.
“I don’t really sit around dwelling on what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved and last season was a great season, but it starts again, I’ve got a new challenge getting back to fitness.
“I want to be a better player by the time I come back, I still want to play for England and for Wasps, and the Lions at the end of the season which is the dream of any player.
“There’s so much to be done, I’m just excited to get off crutches!”
For more information about the National Rugby Awards, please visit the website www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk
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