x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Young English winger could wade into Lions

Rugby player Christian Wade evokes memories of Jason Robinson, arguably England's greatest ever attacker and the Lions could benefit from taking a chance on the new Billy Whizz, writes Paul Radley.

Christian Wade, of the London Wasps, could be a strong addition to the British & Irish Lions in the coming months.
Christian Wade, of the London Wasps, could be a strong addition to the British & Irish Lions in the coming months.

It has been a long while since the British & Irish Lions had a genuine bolter in their ranks for one of their four-yearly missions. Meaning a player who has never sampled full Test rugby at all before being thrown in with the Lions.

The last uncapped wonder to be handed the red shirt was Will Greenwood back in 1997. The rapid advance of professionalism in the 16 years since has meant the four-nation collective team have always been able to call on players who have at least been tried at Test level.

However, the trend of recent history could yet be bucked when the Lions land in Australia this summer, given that Stuart Lancaster has initially resisted the claims of Christian Wade for his England squad for next month's Six Nations. Wade, the yet to be capped English wing, is obviously on the national radar, as he has been picked for the second-string Saxons.

However, if England's senior back three function as well as they did in November, the 21 year old could feasibly reach the summer without a Test cap.

Yet he may still prove to be one of the stars of the summer showpiece with the Lions. It is safe to assume Wade would thrive on the hard and fast pitches of Australia, given that he has managed to glisten during the muddy English midwinter.

In stature and style, Wade evokes memories of Jason Robinson, arguably England's greatest ever attacker. The Lions could benefit from taking a chance on the new Billy Whizz.

pradley@thenational.ae

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