Former England flank recalls wild party that left 2 All Blacks knocked out cold

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James Haskell. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
James Haskell. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Former England flank James Haskell has revealed details of a wild house party he held during his playing stint at the Highlanders in New Zealand.

The party got completely out of hand, resulting in police being called and two All Blacks players knocked out cold as guests set furniture on fire.

In his book, What A Flanker, Haskell said the incident occurred in 2012 and took place at the house he rented from former Highlanders and Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua.

"On hearing a commotion coming from the garden, I wandered outside to discover they'd stacked some of Mapusua's garden furniture under the eaves of the house and set it on fire, along with some of my clothes," Haskell wrote.

"I obviously lost the plot, and as I was in mid-flow, Lima Sopoaga jumped me and smashed an egg on my head.

"The yolk hadn't even had time to start dripping down my face when I charged through what was now a raging fire, like some deranged stuntman, and knocked Lima cold with an overhand right.

"I thought I'd killed him."

Haskell said he had his nose split by a friend of Sopoaga's and that another fight had broken out between former All Blacks and Highlanders team-mates, Jimmy Cowan and Elliot Dixon, leaving the former unconscious.

"Now we had two blokes out cold in the garden and it was like a scene from that New Zealand film Once Were Warriors, except instead of someone shouting 'Cook the man some eggs' someone was smashing raw eggs on my forehead."

When the guests refused to leave, Haskell called the police, who arrived and moved the partygoers on.

"Now it was just me and Jimmy Cowan in the house, me with my busted nose and him with a big cut above his eye," Haskell added.

"It looked like we’d just gone 12 rounds. Having put the flames out - which wasnt easy - and finally persuading Cowan to get lost, I got a taxi to A&E. Luckily the doctor was an English rugby fan and did a beautiful stitching job."

Haskell, 36, played Super Rugby for the Highlanders in 2012.

He played 77 Tests for England between 2007 and 2018 and represented a number of clubs during his career, including Wasps, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams, and Northampton Saints.

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