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Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Ospreys eye shock Haskell switch

By Gareth Lewis

James Haskell
James Haskell is out of contract with Wasps at the end of the season

The Ospreys are interested in bringing Wasps and England back-row James Haskell to the Welsh region, BBC Wales' Scrum V programme understands.

The 23-year-old, tipped as a future England captain, is out of contract with Wasps in the summer.

Rival English side Sale Sharks are also understood to be interested in Haskell, as are French giants Toulouse.

The Ospreys said on Tuesday that talks were at the instigation of Haskell's representative, not their initiative.

"James has been down to have a look at our facilities, and to see what the Ospreys are all about, after we received an approach from the player's representative," said Ospreys elite performance director Andrew Hore.

"For a current England international to be showing such an interest in the Ospreys is a clear sign of our growing status in the game, and while we have not actively been seeking a move for James, understandably, we were pleased to be able to meet with him."

The Ospreys are exploring their back-row options after promoting former All Black Filo Tiatia to player-coach.

If the Ospreys did manage to entice Haskell to the Liberty Stadium it would be a rarity, with very few current England internationals having chosen to ply their trade on the other side of the Severn Bridge.

Stade Francais, Bath and Saracens are three more clubs reported to be interested in the 6ft 4in back-row.

Haskell's club colleagues Danny Cipriani, Tom Rees, Riki Flutey, Dominic Waldouck and Dave Walder have also yet to agree new contracts with Wasps.

Before Christmas Wasps owner Steve Hayes offered take-it-or-leave-it deals to 19 members of his squad who are out of contract at the end of this season.

He is expected to announce this week which of the players have accepted new deals.

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see also
Ref blamed as Haskell handed ban
23 Sep 08 |  London Wasps
Haskell upbeat over Wasps future
04 Jun 08 |  London Wasps
England captain appeals - Haskell
25 Mar 08 |  London Wasps
Six Nations Young Guns - James Haskell
27 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union

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