Haskell heads back to New Zealand as he joins Otago

England back-rower James Haskell will play for the Otago Highlanders in next season's Super 15 tournament.

Haskell will be one of five overseas internationals contracted to New Zealand teams.

He played five matches for England at the recent World Cup, bringing his tally of Test caps since his 2007 debut to 42.

On the move: Haskell in action for England in their World Cup clash with Romania in New Zealand

On the move: Haskell in action for England in their World Cup clash with Romania in New Zealand

The 26-year-old currently plays in Japan for the Ricoh Black Rams and will return to England after a season with the Highlanders to join London Wasps.

Haskell told the Times: 'I have always wanted to test myself in a new environment and in a new culture as both a player and as an individual.

'I think it will help me in my desire to improve and become a better player for England. The move to New Zealand and playing with and against some of the best players in the world in the country which holds the World Cup is another important step in that direction. That is the ultimate playing environment.'

The Waikato Chiefs squad includes the Samoa World Cup players Kane Thompson and Mahonri Schwalger and Tonga's Sona Taumalolo, while the Samoa fly-half Tusi Pisi will play for the Wellington Hurricanes.

The squads announced on Wednesday included 28 players who are new to Super 15 rugby and 14 who have changed teams since last season.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said: 'James Haskell being available to play for the Highlanders is a bit of a coup I suppose.

'We have some quality loose forwards here already, but having the versatility of a player who can play internationally in all three loose forward positions is great. He's hungry to have a crack at Super Rugby, so we'll see how he goes.'

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