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In the Press: Ambassador James Haskell and Clay Pigeon Shooting

With the MUSTO office reaching Six Nations fever pitch, we’re reading all things RFU and came across this interview with our shooting ambassador James Haskell in The Times on 5 February, discussing his passion for clay pigeon shooting:

‘This week, on my day off from training with England, I chose to spend a couple of hours shooting clay pigeons. 

I was introduced to the sport by my godfather when I was about 9 or 10.  I used to love going round to his house because he would always take me shooting and then one day he let me shoot clays in his garden.  My mother wasn’t too keen.  She used to tell my father not to let me have a gun because I would use it to shoot my brother.

I love the thrill of being outdoors and doing something physical but not strenuous.  It is totally different to playing rugby, much more relaxing.

When I was at London Wasps I used to go shooting after training at E.J. Churchill in High Wycombe.  Tom Voyce and Josh Lewsey, my team-mates, were also big shooters.  It is an expensive hobby, but it is amazing what some rugby tickets and a few signed bits of kit will get you.

France is one of the biggest places for shooting.  I think Steve Thompson (the England hooker) shot everything that moved when he was playing for Brive.  But it is a bit more difficult playing in Paris for Stade Français, as I do. 

I own a couple of shotguns and always look the part.  Some might say I’m guilty of having all the gear and very little idea.  I talk a good game.  If I was shooting 50 clays, I would expect to hit 38-40.

There are different types of clay shooting.  The flurry is one of my favourites, where you stand in your dugout and eight or nine clays come over at the same time so you’re rapidly shooting anad reloading, as happens on a live shoot.

My big passion is for clays – I like the ease of being able to turn up and shoot – but I have shot live birds and have been deer-stalking, but not as much as I would like to.

The first time I went out pheasant-shooting I brought a brace home.  My mother looked shocked, but I skinned them and cleaned them and then served up a pheasant stir-fry.’

James Haskell has played rugby union 30 times for England.  He is an ambassador for MUSTO clothing and was speaking to Patrick Kidd.

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