Lion boosts England

One of the stars of the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa has given England team manager Martin Johnson some much-needed good news. [more]

Lion boosts England

One of the stars of the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa has given England team manager Martin Johnson some much-needed good news.

Former Lions skipper Johnson has seen as many as 20 senior players affected by injury in the run up to next month’s autumn internationals but Simon Shaw is about to reverse a worrying trend by returning to action this weekend.

The 36-year-old second row was outstanding when representing Britain and Ireland’s elite against the Springboks in the summer but injury has since preventing him from playing club rugby this season.

Thankfully for Wasps and for England, the triple Lions tourist will feature in the Guinness Premiership clash with Leeds Carnegie on Sunday and could well be in line for an England berth against Argentina on November 14.

"Simon should be back for Leeds,” said Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks.

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"He’s been working hard and looks ready to go – 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!”

Shaw’s most-recent appearance, in the Lions’ third-Test win over the Boks on July 4, may have been one of the best of his remarkable career but both he and Hanks recognise the need for game time before returning to international rugby.

Shaw himself has stated that he wants to be involved on the domestic scene before representing England again and Hanks agrees with that assessment.

However, Hanks’ own view is that the qualities Shaw possesses as a player and a character will see him wearing the Red Rose far sooner than the average professional.

"That (Lions tour) was a while back though and Simon himself feels he needs to get some rugby under his belt,” added Hanks. 

"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.

"Seeing him back in an England jersey would be great.”

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