- New England wing hopes to carry 12 months of tries into SA tour
- "I’m excited, overwhelmed and looking forward to getting stuck in" – Wade
Out and out pace is a virtue all rugby teams crave and in uncapped wing Christian Wade England have a player who has sped to 13 tries in all competitions for struggling London Wasps this season.
The former England Under 20 and England Sevens star has been clocked at 4.68 seconds for 40 metres, which puts him in a bracket with English Rugby’s fastest in Tom Varndell, Jonny May and Dan Norton.
And with Senior National Fitness Coach Calvin Morriss already preparing the players to run fast on South Africa’s hard pitches, Wade hopes to take full advantage if he makes his senior England debut this June.
Wade, who turned 21 on Tuesday while at England’s Pennyhill Park mini-camp, said: "I’m really excited and overwhelmed to be in the squad.
"I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, hopefully getting some games in midweek and holding my hand up for possibly a Test match or involvement further on in the season.
"It was a treat to be training with England on my 21st birthday – even though we were doing fitness and weights! I feel privileged that I’m able to be here with so many great coaches and conditioning staff."
Photo: Getty Images
Wade toured South Africa – alongside new England teammates Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph – with England Under 18 in 2009 and enjoyed considerable success, helping England defeat Western Province 95-0 and South Africa Under 18 45-13.
Remembering the fervent attitude on the pitch and in the stands, and hoping the hard pitches suit his style, Wade said: “South Africa are really passionate, from the players in the team, to the coaches, the fans and general public.
"Playing out there is great because you have good weather, hard surfaces and big crowds. There’s a great atmosphere and I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing.”
Wade has enjoyed a try-laden last 12 months, which started as top-try scorer – with seven in five games – at the Junior World Championships in Italy and peaked with a stunning hat-trick against Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership.
Photo: Getty Images
Despite missing three months of the season with a groin injury suffered in January, he finished as second top try scorer with nine in the Aviva Premiership and feels his progression through the age groups has allowed him to make an immediate impact in first team rugby.
Wade, who scored on his England Under 18 debut as a 16-year-old, added: "Last year was my second year in the Under 20s and after 18s and 16s before it really developed my game in terms of the skills and professionalism. It’s been a great stepping stone leading to being here today.
"It was a bit of a topsy-turvy season at London Wasps but I feel I had a good season in myself. It’s been a great way to start my career in the first team so I’m really looking forward to next year – and this tour obviously.
"The hat trick against Leicester stands-out, it was my first man-of-the-match performance so it that’s definitely the highlight of my Premiership career so far."