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Wasps flyer targets summer breakthrough with England
THIS Six Nations might have come too soon for Christian Wade, but the Wasps winger wants to make sure he’s not still being overlooked by England by the time summer comes along.
He was called into the Saxons squad last month and played in their win over Ireland A.
But many believe he’s ready for the next step and as good as England were against Scotland, the prospect of introducing Wade into a game like that for the final 20 minutes would be terrifying for opposing defences.
The 21-year-old said: “I like that fast-paced game. Only the fittest teams can play that sort of game but it’s a game that suits me.
“It’s the way we play at Wasps and obviously it’s working well for England.
“An influx of more quick players could top it off nicely.”
For now though Stuart Lancaster is keeping faith with Chris Ashton and Mike Brown on the wing, ignoring some calls to give the Wasps man a chance.
He said: “I don’t really read the stuff about myself so I don’t know. But when the time comes and if the coaches believe I’m ready then I’ll get a call up.
“Until then it’s just about me working on my work-ons and doing well for my team.
“I was hoping I’d be in one of the squads and was really pleased to be in the Saxons. It’s the start of a journey. There is a 42-man squad tour to Argentina in the summer so that’s something I’m aiming for.
“I just hope I can do well now until the end of the season.”
Defence is Wade’s weak link, positional rather than in contact, although he has made strides forward since last season.
He said: “That is something I’m still working on. You can’t stop working on it and it’s probably going to be something I’m working on for the whole of my career.”
The question is whether his attack compensates for his defence.
He’s got nine tries in 17 game so far for the black and golds, building on a return of 13 in 20 games last year, while his six Premiership tries place him second in the scoring charts behind his Wasps team-mate Tom Varndell.
The pair actually have a healthy rivalry on that front, although Wade insists it matters less to him than the man on the other wing.
He said: “I’m probably not hitting the strike-rate I was hitting last year, but I’m still getting a lot of opportunities on the pitch.
“Tom Varndell is carving up as well, but it [the rivalry] is not really serious.
“It’s more serious to him because last year I killed him on the try counts.
“It’s not that serious to me but when he’s around I pretend I care about it. I’ve given him most of his tries anyway.”
Wasps will need both their cutting tools to be razor sharp tomorrow though, when they go to Harlequins.
Wade, who scored twice against them at Twickenham, said: “Now we’re in the top four this is where the real work starts for us. I think we can go there and do well but we’re going to have to be on top of our game and make as few mistakes as possible.
“We’ll have to be very clinical and this time if we get a lead we need to hold on to it.”