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Shaw hands England fitness boost
Scrum.com
October 28, 2009

Simon Shaw has provided some much-needed good news for England manager Martin Johnson, with Wasps confirming that the lock should be fit for a Twickenham date with Argentina on November 14.

Shaw has not played any rugby since the British & Irish Lions tour due to a metatarsal injury, but is slated to make a comeback in Wasps' Guinness Premiership showdown with Leeds on Sunday. He was omitted from Johnson's Elite Player Squad (EPS) for Tests against Australia, the Pumas and New Zealand in order for adequate cover to be preserved, but should he come through this weekend unscathed he will no doubt begin to feature in the international reckoning.

"Simon should be back for Leeds, if he comes through this week. He's been working hard and looks ready to go," said Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks. "England will be looking at him. He hasn't played since the Lions and they say you're only as good as your last game, so he's in a nice spot at the moment.

"That was a while back though and Simon himself feels he needs to get some rugby under his belt. Seeing him back in an England jersey would be great. With most players you'd say two games wouldn't be enough, but Simon Shaw is not a normal player. If he comes through the next two weeks feeling like he's ready, then you put him in because he'll be ready."

The Wasps contingent in the EPS is just two-strong, with Tim Payne and Joe Worsley flying the flag. Hanks is surprised by the lack of representation after a strong start to the season.

"Our second row has been going pretty well and we're disappointed they haven't been recognised higher up," he said. "George Skivington and Richard Birkett have done a great job and are at the top in terms of stats. They have played a key role. They must have been close. "Paul Sackey has been playing good rugby and must have been close - his all-round game has been excellent - while Tom Varndell has played well."

Hanks also dismissed comments made by Wales coach Warren Gatland that the Premiership is at its weakest currently.

"Supporters are coming in their droves and that's a good indication of the Premiership's quality," he said. "Anyone can beat anyone on any given day and that's what you want from a competition. It's well supported. I'll give Warren a call this week and ask him about it myself. It's good natured and Warren is in Test mode right now. If everyone gets a chuckle out of it, it will be great."

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