So after many months of huffing and puffing, James Haskell is off to Stade Francais (“my decision to leave Wasps had nothing to do with how much money was on the table”). Two other England internationals from Wasps – Riki Flutey and Tom Palmer - are also headed across the channel.
But not so many weeks ago it looked to be an even bigger exodus because fellow England players Danny Cipriani and Paul Sackey were also part of the awkward squad at Wasps, all pressing for infeasibly large slices of the capped salary pot. Ill-advised, because the cap is what it is, and a full squad has to be fed from it. In the event, Sackey didn’t really have his heart in it, and Cipriani is just a talented young man easily swayed by authority-figures: both will probably stay.
Word is that Wasps’ much put-upon management team will be pleased to see the back of the overbearing Jonathan Haskell: he ‘manages’ his son’s career (check out the unintentionally amusing website and the ghost-written Guardian pieces) and is said to have been whispering large numbers to the other impressionable lads. The Times reports that veteran Wasps loyalist Lawrence Dallaglio was charged with negotiating the retention of the malcontents. What they don’t mention is that when still a player, Dallaglio voluntarily sacrificed his own very legitimate salary aspirations to allow for attractive money to be made available to the talented youngsters like Haskell and Cipriani in the first place. What the great man thinks of the Haskells père et fils is best left to the imagination.
Far be it from C@W to criticize a chap for making as much money as he can, or taking business advice from his dad. But Rugby isn’t Soccer, and the club ethos isn’t comfortable with blatant careerism, as supporters’ chat forums clearly show.
Oh, and the RBS money won’t be flowing quite as freely in future either …