- Christian Wade makes history with RPA awards double
- Prolific wing aiming for Test debut in Argentina this summer
Christian Wade has created rugby history by being named both The Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year for the 2012/13 season.
The prolific London Wasps wing – Aviva Premiership joint leading try scorer with 13 – has surpassed even Jonny Wilkinson, the only other man to win both awards but in different years, scooping young player in 1999 and players’ player in 2003.
Tangible respect from your peer group is the ultimate individual accolade in sport and the honour is not lost Wade, who only turned 22 eight days ago.
“It’s awesome and quite surprising, I’m humbled to be chosen and congratulated by my peers,” said the former England Under 18 and Under 20 man.
“It’s the greatest feeling to be recognised by my peers and to know that other players respect you for what you do. Ultimately my gratitude goes to the coaches – Dai Young and Shane Howarth – we’ve got a young group and I think playing alongside your mates lifts your performance.”
Photo: Getty Images
Wade will tour Argentina with Stuart Lancaster’s England squad this summer, these awards boosting his already burgeoning confidence after speeding, stepping and sashaying to eight tries in his last nine Premiership games.
Scoring tries has never been a problem for the former England Sevens star: he collected 13 in all competitions last season despite a three-month injury hiatus and raced to back-to-back hat-tricks in his first two senior England starts, the 57-26 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham and 54-26 win over the South African Barbarians South in Kimberley on the 2012 summer tour to South Africa.
Wade feels he is a more rounded player than the one who toured with England this time last year, adding to his innate ability on the ball with improved positioning in defence and attack.
He said: “It’s a great honour to be selected to go on tour again and that was my goal after going last year. As I player I’ve gained more experience and developed my game in terms of positioning in both defence and attack.
“I’m looking forward to going out to Argentina and hopefully getting a Test spot and opportunity to show what I can do.”
Photo: Getty Images
A humble, hard-working attitude transcends Wade on the rugby field. While he enjoyed the experience of the midweek fixtures in South Africa, he wants to reach the top and has worked on the specifics of his game identified by the England coaching team.
And although Wade feels he is far from the finished article, you sense this is his time to shine, and he knows it.
Wade added: “From watching the other guys on tour last year and mixing with the coaches last year, I’ve gone away and tried to work on the other areas they wanted me to improve and try to round off my game.
“I still feel I’m a long way off. You’ve got to keep on trying, but going on tour is a way of saying “you’ve done well” and now is the time to step up.
“I want to make the step up to Test rugby and if I’m handed it I must take it because these opportunities don’t come round all the time.”