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Haskell inspired by Dallaglio

James Haskell admits he will be inspired by Lawrence Dallaglio when he leads Wasps throughout the 2014-15 season.

Haskell's first taste of captaincy will be Saturday's opening match of the traditional Aviva Premiership London double-header against Saracens at Twickenham.

England great Dallaglio presided over the most successful period in Wasps' history, a reign that included four league titles and two Heineken Cup crowns.

Haskell played alongside Dallaglio for six years and while determined to forge his own path, he knows he will be influenced by a man he regards as the complete skipper.

"To me Lawrence was everything you want in a leader," Haskell said.

"When he spoke you always felt he cared about what he was saying and he always backed it up, leading by example.

"He had the respect of the guys around him and that is all you can ask for.

"I'm not trying to be Lawrence and I won't copy him, but you can't help but be inspired by a guy who was a natural leader and had respect from people."

Haskell is one of the game's more colourful personalities, but he understands the need to be economical with his words when required.

"The last thing you want is to be someone who just talks," he said.

"The boys find out pretty quickly if you are covering for your inefficiencies by putting great Churchillian speeches together. If that happens, you'll fall flat on your face.

"As long as I perform on the field and get the respect of the guys, then that is key."

Wasps have been lifted by the return of Christian Wade - a potential solution to England's problems on the wing - from the foot injury that has kept him sidelined since November.

Will Fraser's own injury problems are over, so he is restored at openside by Saracens as he begins his quest to challenge for Chris Robshaw's England jersey.

Robshaw's load in World Cup year has been lightened by Harlequins' decision to relieve him of the captaincy after four seasons and give it to Joe Marler, who will lead the side against London Irish on Saturday.

Marland Yarde makes his debut following his summer move from the Exiles and despite the England wing's arrival, Quins have been widely tipped to miss the play-offs this season.

"We want to be the best we can be individually and collectively. If we manage that, we'll be hard to beat," director of rugby Conor O'Shea said.

"Anyone can finish in the top four. We've been written off as the team that will drop out this season, but we were written off last season but still got in.

"Anyone who writes us off is deluded if you look at the quality of the team we can put out."

Fly-half George Ford returns from shoulder surgery to pull the strings for Bath against Sale and will duel with England rival Danny Cipriani at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Freddie Burns makes his Leicester debut against Newcastle and with Ed Slater in the treatment room, Ben Youngs leads the Tigers.


From Belfast Telegraph