Wasps vs Sale Sharks: Christian Wade makes England case with buzzing Wasps show

Wasps 41 Sale Sharks 16

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The Independent Online

The Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young, pushed the England claims of winger Christian Wade after his man-of-the-match performance helped his side to a 41-16 win over Sale in the Aviva Premiership yesterday.

The 23-year-old, who made his England debut against Argentina in the summer of 2013, missed most of last season with an ankle injury but could be a contender for the Six Nations after an impressive display against a disappointing Sharks at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

Wade failed to add to his seven tries this season but created the first for captain James Haskell and was a constant threat to the visitors with his dangerous footwork and lighting acceleration.

“I thought he was outstanding, especially in the first half,” said Young. “We all know what he can do in space, but even when space wasn’t there he showed some real physicality to break tackles and create opportunities.

“It’s not for me to say who should be in [the England team] but I wouldn’t swap him for any other winger. He’s as good a finisher as anyone else but sometimes I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for creating opportunities for other people.”

Wade said: “Hearing Dai’s comments, it’s really humbling for me. I just want to keep putting in performances and let the rest take care of itself.”

Scrum-half Joe Simpson scored two of Wasps’ five tries and back-rowers Ashley Johnson and Nathan Hughes also touched down, with Andy Goode kicking 16 points as Young’s side continue to revel in their new home in front of a 15,343 crowd.

However, they finished with 14 men after former Sale forward James Gaskell was sent to the sin-bin.

Sale had boosted their top-six hopes with four wins from their previous five games but this was a rude awakening for Steve Diamond’s side.

“We were given a good hiding,” Diamond said. “We just weren’t at the races. We were beaten comprehensively all over the show, which doesn’t happen to us very often so it’s a difficult one to take.”

In yesterday’s other game, London Welsh produced their best performance of the season against Harlequins, according to head coach Justin Burnell, but lost for the 12th time, 24-13.

“We are not a team that going to roll over as you saw today,” he said. “We’ve got nothing to lose now and hopefully our performances can improve to put us in good stead for next season.”

Quins’ director of rugby, Conor O’Shea, was not unduly concerned about his side’s poor showing, in which they declined a number of easy-looking penalties in favour of more attacking options.

“We played the youngsters, so it’s damned if you do or damned if you don’t. We tried to play with ambition throughout the game and that’s the way I want Quins to play, even though it may not work at times,” he said. 

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