- England Under 20 fly half Henry Slade on being back fit
- Been working towards it for quite some time – Slade
Photo: Getty Images
Being thrown in at the deep end is no problem for England Under 20 fly half Henry Slade – he went to school with Olympic diver Tom Daley.
The 18-year-old Exeter Chiefs No. 10 has fought his way back into contention with Rob Hunter’s Under 20 side and has been given his first start of this season’s Six Nations campaign in Italy tomorrow (Saturday).
Slade has missed over five months of the current season, first injuring his back before his medial collateral ligament.
But he is back to full fitness and said:
“It’s always nice to get the start. I’ve been working towards it for quite some time now. Getting injured was a blow but I was pretty focussed on returning for the Six Nations and fortunately with the help of the physios and the conditioning guys I’ve been able to – it’s a good feeling.
“It was a long road to recovery, but you have to make what you can of the situation so I spent a bit of time trying to build up my size and strength, as well as analysing games in more detail to try and get a better understanding. You could say it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise.”
Slade came off the bench for Tommy Bell in England’s 40-9 triumph over Wales last weekend, and added:
Photo: Getty Images
“It was great to get a run out at The Stoop, the atmosphere was really good and it was just nice to put all that training and preparation into practice.
"We’re missing a few guys who are at their Premiership clubs, but the way we performed against the Welsh goes to show that there’s a real strength in depth with this squad,” Slade explained.
England are back in Italy for the second time within a month after their scheduled Six Nations game on February 10 was called off due to a frozen pitch, but Slade is hoping that the frustration of not being able to play last time can be utilised.
“It was disappointing not to get a game last time we were out here, but you have to respect the decision and move on. The benefit is that we now know the area, the hotel and the ground, so we’re actually a little bit more acclimatised,” reflected Slade.
“The Italians are a very proud nations and extremely passionate, particularly at home, so we know that it’s going to be a big challenge, but I think we’re up to it.”
Italy Under 20 v England Under 20 kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday, March 3. Updates available through the Official RFU Twitter feed.