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Wycombe star on way to becoming a household name
IF anyone in High Wycombe doesn’t know it yet, they should be aware that one of their own is on the way to becoming a household name.
Christian Wade was born and has grown up in these streets, but the road he’s on now heads straight to the palace gates.
England coach Stuart Lancaster might have looked and then looked away again before the November internationals, but it’s the quality as well as the sheer quantity of his tries that are making Wade virtually impossible to ignore.
The facts speak for themselves.
As a teenager he was unstoppable for RGS High Wycombe and was then an England Sevens star.
From there he progressed to the England U20 team and last summer finished joint top try-scorer at the Junior World Cup.
That nudged him into contention at Wasps and in his first season he scored 13 tries in 20 games, including two hat-tricks.
He followed that with four tries in two games during England’s summer tour to South Africa and all that meant he began this year as a marked man.
But this turbo-charged predator is still kicking up star dust and seven tries in eight games suggests the best defences in the country simply have no idea how to stop him.
He crossed twice against Quins at Twickenham in September; he breached Saracens at the same venue last year and then scored a hat-trick against Leicester.
At 21, there is still a huge amount for Wade to learn, but as an out-an-out finisher he is virtually peerless in the English game.
With a standout weapon like that, Wasps go into every match with a chance – although it does mean the opposition know exactly where the threat is.
Wade said: “I think this year people are definitely more aware of me as a player and to get any real opportunity I am having to work off the wing and expand my game.
“I definitely feel as if there has been more attention paid to me.
“If I am being marked out of the game there is obviously going to be space elsewhere so it is about me being smart and popping up in other areas where I can then use my skills to make line breaks or as a decoy.”
It’s a learning process, but as yet rugby hasn’t posed a question Wade hasn’t been able to answer and as for second season syndrome – that’s something that happens to other people.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: “England are blessed with some quality wingers and there is a case for three or four really.
“He was in the frame, but all he can do is keep on playing the way he has been doing for us.”
On Sunday that meant two outrageous tries and the Man of the Match award against London Welsh.
Young said: “I thought he was really good in everything he did. He was good under the high ball, he made some telling tackles, he looked strong every time he had the ball.
“I thought he was outstanding and there aren’t many wingers who would have scored that try.
“I’m thrilled to have him part of our set-up.”
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