- Young winger "itching to play" in skilful backline
- It’s unknown territory but, for us, it is about working through our plays – Wade
Having been named to start against the South Africa Southern Barbarians XV in Kimberley, an excited Christian Wade is looking forward to showcasing his prodigious talents during some valuable tour game-time.
London Wasps winger Wade made his first senior appearance for England in a comprehensive 57-26 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham last month, scoring a try to cap an impressive performance.
Now he faces another invitational side and, after expressing his delight, admitted that his midweek teammates did not know exactly what to expect from a team made up of Currie Cup players.
“I’m just really excited and I can’t wait to get out there,” said the 21 year-old. “I’m itching to play.
“[The Killik Cup match] was a good first run-out for me in an England jersey. I felt really honoured to play in that game and I just want to show what I can do again with this opportunity.
“It’s unknown territory really – we don’t know anything about them. Obviously, because they are a Barbarians side, they won’t have played together much before.
“For us, it is more about working through our plays and testing out the things we have been doing in training. Hopefully it will go well and we can get the result we want.”
Standing 1.78m (5'10") tall, Wade is one of the more diminutive members of the touring party and, having seen the relentless Springbok kicking game in action throughout Saturday’s first Test, he has been preparing for an aerial bombardment.
“That is the way South Africans play – their kick-chase always seems to be immaculate and they get runners on their feet very well,” he added.
“Because I’m smaller, I am aware that they might target me a fair bit as a weakness. I want to turn that into a strength, so I’ve been practising high-balls quite a lot.”
Among a backline that features the distributing skills of experienced internationals Danny Care and Charlie Hodgson, Wade should get plenty of opportunity to use his electric running to good effect.
Photo: Getty Images
Indeed, the youngster seemed confident of a fluent, cohesive showing from George Robson’s men as England look to move on from an energy-sapping defeat at Kings Park.
“We have good players all over the pitch,” Wade continued. “It will be great to play with DC [Care] and Charlie Hodgson has a great kicking and passing game. The forwards will be challenging for places in the Test team as well so it will be a good game.
“It’s important for us get out there and try to pick up on the things that the Test team did not do as well as they would have liked. Hopefully, then we’ll be able to review out improvements and work towards a better result in the second Test on Saturday.”
“Although there are two teams, we are one big squad trying to achieve the same thing and learning together. “
Finally, Wade gave his thoughts on his time in the senior set-up so far. Predictably, his delight did not cease:
“It is being made easier by all of the more experienced boys around me, as well as the management and staff we have with us. Everyone is happy about the group that we’ve got. This is such a good environment to progress as a player and move forward.
“I’m using every moment to better myself as a player, working towards getting a cap. After this, I will go back to Wasps and find some consistency.”