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Premiership Rugby

Shaw back in club colours

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The defending champions' boss Warren Gatland proves there can be no rest for the wretched by including the lock only days after he found himself surplus to Clive Woodward's Rugby World Cup requirements.

"Our priorities are to get the best possible start while our World Cup stars are away. Wasps are traditionally slow starters to the season and it's something we want to shrug off," said Gatland.

"We achieved so much as a club last season, but still failed to beat Harlequins, it's unfinished business and something I want to cross off my to-do list."

In the wake of the loss of five first-choicers to the World Cup and the injury to fly-half Alex King, the immediate return of Shaw bolsters the club's chances of defending their title.

Gatland, however, can also call on the international pedigree of former Wales No.9 Rob Howley, who captains the side, and Samoan star Trevor Leota, who had to forgo a trip to Australia on financial grounds.

Gatland has also included debutant James Haskell on the flank.

Haskell's inclusion in Joe Worsley's position makes him the youngest Wasps player ever to start any league game, breaking Worsley's previous record by 154 days, when the England man played for Wasps at West Hartlepool in April 1996.

Gatland said: "I've picked this side on merit and James deserves his place. He has worked hard during pre-season and I feel if you are good enough, you're old enough.

"His inclusion also sends out a message to the rest of the Wasps squad saying that nobody's place is secure and if you work hard, you will get your chance to play for the champions."

London Wasps: 15 Tom Voyce, 14 Shane Roiser, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Mark Denney, 11 John Rudd, 10 Mark Van Gisbergen, 9 Rob Howley (captain), 8 Ian Clarke, 7 Paul Volley, 6 James Haskell, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Will Green, 2 Phil Greening, 1 Craig Dowd.Replacements: 16 Peter Richards, 17 Jonny O'Connor, 18 Ayoola Erinle, 19 Mark Lock, 20 Martin Purdy, 21 Tim Payne, 22 Trevor Leota.

Kick-off: 14.45 BST


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