Former Northampton Saints star James Haskell has faced some pretty tough opponents on the rugby pitch, but he could be about to face his biggest challenge yet... a bush tucker trial.
The ex-England flanker has been unveiled as a contestant in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
The ten celebrities heading into the Jungle for the new series are:
Ex footballer and broadcaster – Ian Wright MBE
Pop star – Nadine Coyle
‘Rak-Su’ singer – Myles Stephenson
Radio 1 DJ – Adele Roberts
Comedian – Andrew Maxwell
Soap Star– Jacqueline Jossa
Capital Radio DJ – Roman Kemp
Olympian and TV personality – Caitlyn Jenner
Ex England rugby player – James Haskell
TV and radio presenter – Kate Garraway
James Haskell hangs up his boots
Former Northampton Saints rugby player, James Haskell, admits to having ‘big shoes to fill’ if he wants to emulate the popularity of his famous-in-laws – Richard & Judy – on this year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
But the 34-year-old says the chance to take part in the award-winning ITV series came at the perfect moment after his rugby World Cup dreams were dashed earlier this year when he had to retire due to injury.
James – who enjoyed a 17-year career that saw him play for England, Wasps and Northampton – admits: “A lot of my teammates had said in the past ‘wouldn’t it be fun if you went into the Jungle’ but I always laughed as a) I thought nobody would approach me and b) I thought I was going to be in the World Cup but I retired sooner than I thought!”
“And so to be asked is such a special opportunity. You will get to test yourself in amazing surroundings and find out a little bit more about yourself. I am excited.”
Going on to reflect on his wife and in-laws’ reaction to the news he was going in the Jungle, he adds: “ I have a fantastic relationship with them (Richard & Judy) and they are very supportive. They are massive fans of the show and they will be out in Australia.”
“Chloe, my wife, thinks it is fantastic too. She is really excited and I think she will love it. But I will miss her a lot. We have been inseparable for five years and we speak two to three times a day.”
“It will be a massive change (not being able to chat to her) and I think I will end up talking about her a lot.”
Desperate to keep a lid on what he is frightened of – ‘my poker face isn’t very good and so you will work out pretty quickly what I am terrified of’ – the sportsman has already tried fasting for a day to see how he will feel.
“It was pretty horrific,” he says, laughing as he does.
“I managed to go 24 hours without killing anyone and so that was ok but you just do not know how your body is going to react (once you go in).
You also don’t want to make a fool of yourself either!”
He says he will definitely muck in with all the jobs and he may even try and train in the Jungle. But he knows he will divide opinion.
James says: “I am very aware I am like marmite - you either love me or hate me. I created this persona amusingly for jokes about being a lad. But I am not like that at all. I am not going in to try to change perception. I just want to have fun!”
He does, however, concede it is going to be tough at times. Asked whether doing I’m a Celebrity will be harder than playing a rugby game he replies:
“The mental side of things can be very tough and I am going in with an open mind. I also think there will be an expectation that I will be good at challenges as maybe I look the part physically but I might be absolutely terrified!
As for how he would feel to be crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ and James replies: “It would be unbelievable. But I just want to enjoy it all.”