Christian Wade says that this weekend’s game against the Barbarians provides him with the perfect opportunity to push his credentials ahead of the World Cup.
Despite missing out on the England World Cup Training Squad announced last week, Christian Wade has been included in the England XV side to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham this Sunday, kick-off 3pm.
The team features five Wasps, with Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Matt Mullan and Joe Launchbury all named to start, and James Gaskell amongst the replacements. With less than four months until the Rugby World Cup kicks off, Wade says that the game is a brilliant opportunity for him to prove his credentials.
"It’s a massive opportunity for me to show what I can do, on a different stage and in a different team. The side is a mix of guys who are in the World Cup squad and those players who have been identified as having the ability to break into that group. For me it is just about going out there and giving it my best shot.
"I spoke to Stuart Lancaster in our one-on-one on day one of camp and he made it very clear what I needed to do.
"We have only had a week together to get to know the England way of playing and the way everyone else plays the game. I feel like we are in a good place as a team and it’s now just about going out there and executing the plan.
"It is a very exciting backline that’s been named. You have Danny Cipriani at 10 with Henry Slade and Elliot Daly in the centres, which is a really exciting midfield. I’m looking forward to getting a lot of ball and I’m really excited about it."
"I can’t wait for the opportunity. For me, it is all about improving and that is what I’m trying to do in every session and every game I’m a part of, making sure I’m learning all the time.
"This is the last opportunity to show what I can do before training commences ahead of the World Cup campaign, so I just have to give it my best shot.
Seven Wasps are set to take to the field on Sunday, with five named in the England squad, opposite Jimmy Gopperth and George Smith in the Barbarians’ ranks. Wade says it adds something extra to the game having players he knows with and against him.
"That’s becoming a bit of a trend having Wasps boys involved in this fixture. When I’ve played in this game in the past I’ve always played with and against boys who are either at Wasps or on their way to Wasps. It makes it an even more interesting game and it’s quite strange to see some of the guys from the other side of things, having to take them on."
The match, which kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, is part of a double-header season finale at the home of England Rugby this weekend, which will also see Bath Rugby play Saracens in the Aviva Premiership final on Saturday.
Tickets for the Barbarians match are still available and priced from £35 and £15 for juniors (U16) at www.ticketmaster.co.uk.