Having Tasted His NFL Dream Could Wasps Stalwart Be Returning To Rugby Union?
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Former Wasps favourite Christian Wade has said he will not rule out making a dramatic potential return to the club, or the wider sporting world of Rugby Union following his two-year spell with US National Football League side, the Buffalo Bills.
The now 31-year-old winger, who made one cap for England, joined the Bills back in 2019 following his release by Wasps. This was through the special International Player Pathway programme the NFL hosts. Although he did fail to make their regular-season roster during his spell with them, he was a regular in their practice squads, even scoring a touchdown on his debut in the 2019 pre-season. Having been released, whether or not Wade rolls the dice – like you can do at casinos in Ireland – and makes a return to the UK, remains to be seen though.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme recently that although he was still weighing up his future NFL career options, he would not rule out a return to England and Rugby Union, both given the additional experience he has gained whilst out in America, but also because there is a little bit of homesickness coming into play for him when he thinks back on his time in the game.
He stated that he’s just looking at what the next move will be – Whether he continues to pursue NFL or takes a look at returning to rugby. He’s built up an appetite in the time he’s been away – a chance trip back to see his old teammates spurred the decision to weigh up a possible return to rugby, and when the photos of him with these old friends went live on social media, Wades’ phone wouldn’t stop ringing. It was the Wasps – they wanted a full-blown reunion.
Wade also commented that he was intrigued by the value the teams in the Rugby union can see him bringing back to the pitch after three years away from the glorious game. There’s a curiosity there to see where the teams would place him on his return. He may have a slight advantage over other p[layers thanks to his newfound experience in the NFL – something most other rugby players simply don’t have.
With a very good career at Wasps during his seven-odd year spell with the club, he is credited with a whopping 497 points in 165 appearances for them and he left holding third place in the all-time Premiership try-scoring list having notched up 82 tries, and they did only release him at the time so he was capable of pursuing his NFL dream, so arguably there could be some interest from them in seeing him return home, so to speak.
Despite his couple of seasons away from our domestic game, he has only dropped to fourth in the list with Chris Ashton recently taking third place from him and Wade is certainly intrigued by the chance to restore his top three status over the 35-year-old Leicester wide man.
Wade had a bit to say about his rivalry with Chris Ashton. He made comments about his rivalry going way back, and when he came into the league, Ashton was seen as England’s number one. Ashton was well known for his uncanny skill to score tries – his ability even earned him the name ‘Ash the Splash’.
Eventually, Wade made his way into the England ranks though and ended up almost battling it out with Ashton for the elusive number 14 shirt. Maybe if wade returns he’ll have his sights set on his old rivals’ records again – he’s stated that if he does return he can see himself doing just that!
Whatever Wade now decides to choose to do, he is bound to have a number of suitors and Rugby fans could well have the opportunity of watching him take to the field again sooner than most thought. It’s thought that the Wasps are keen to have one of their star players back on the field for them – he was well known for his try-scoring prowess and creative play.