CHRISTIAN Wade may currently have just a solitary England cap to his name but 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson is convinced the Wasps star can be the man to help make the Red Rose a more complete team.
Wade’s one international appearance came against Argentina back in June 2013, although he has been on the fringes of the squad ever since.
England have traditionally been a force to be reckoned with up front – their fearsome pack and set-piece able to hold their own with the best in the world.
But in Wasps winger Wade, Robinson – who scored England’s only try in their 2003 World Cup final win over Australia – believes coach Eddie Jones has an X-factor just waiting to be deployed.
“Guys like Christian Wade are brilliant,” explained Robinson. “That attacking game, being able to beat someone in a short space and their explosive pace.
“I’m a big Christian Wade fan. I know the previous regime didn’t select him and that is probably more because of the defensive side of things but I think guys like that who are carving up teams all the time deserve an opportunity.
“I do a lot of work on the HSBC World Sevens Series and Wade is one of those players who excites you. I want to go to games now and be excited.
“You do not see players like Wade in their hundreds, there are only a few players who have feet like that.”
Last autumn, England became the first host nation in the history of the Rugby World Cup to exit at the group stage but just a few months later, the Six Nations Grand Slam proved to be redemption.
Robinson acknowledges that the Red Rose cannot forget the lessons they learned at the World Cup but believes the young core that now exists is capable of giving the likes of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa a run for their money.
“This team can challenge the top teams – with time,” added Robinson. “This is a process and you cannot expect the boys to go from not qualifying from their group in the World Cup to winning the World Cup.
“But what we have to do now is use the disappointments and lessons from the last World Cup to build.
“Thankfully we have three and a half years to the next World Cup and when you look at the players like Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson, Jack Clifford and other young guys like that coming through.
“That’s not to mention people like Jamie George who are putting pressure on the senior guys in the team – that can only be good for the game.”
In Rugby Seven’s biggest year the next generation of rugby stars, inspired by the Rugby World Cup, from more than 650 teams descended on Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens to start on their own journey and break new ground http://www.rpns7.co.uk/