Christian Wade set for Premiership returns, international recall is on the cards - Ruck

Christian Wade set for Premiership returns, international recall is on the cards

Gloucester Rugby is reportedly gearing up to offer a golden opportunity to one-cap England international winger Christian Wade in a bid to break the Premiership try-scoring record at Kingsholm, as per latest rumblings.

Wade, aged 32, currently plies his trade with French Top 14 juggernauts Racing 92, marking a return to rugby union after a three-year stint pursuing NFL aspirations.

The Cherry and Whites’ director of rugby, George Skivington, finds himself a winger short as the 2023/24 season nears its climax.

The departure of Welsh international sensation Louis Rees-Zammit, released early from his contract to venture into the International Player Pathway towards the NFL dream, leaves a gap that Gloucester aims to fill with Wade.

Meanwhile, speculations swirl around the potential departure of Jonny May to Saracens, with The Rugby Paper hinting at the North London club’s quest to reinforce their back-three following a spate of exits.

Wade’s journey has seen him don the colors of the British and Irish Lions as a late call-up in 2013 before venturing into the NFL arena with the Buffalo Bills in 2018. Despite showcasing promise in preseason outings, he failed to secure a matchday spot.

However, his resurgence in rugby with Racing 92, notching up nine tries thus far, has caught the attention of Skivington, making Wade the prime target for Gloucester’s ambitions, according to RugbyPass reports.


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Fixtures for the Six Nations - Round 1

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”