Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Will Henry Slade’s England chance come against Scotland?

PLYMOUTH rugby star Henry Slade will be hoping to win his first England cap on Saturday against Scotland at Twickenham in the Six Nations.

The 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs utility back has been called into England’s 35-man training squad after Brad Barritt was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

Former Plymouth College pupil Slade has been in England training squads before and played in a non-cap match against the Barbarians but has yet to earn a full cap.

However, following England’s defeat against Ireland in their last match, coach Stuart Lancaster may be keen to have a look at him ahead of this year’s World Cup.

Slade, who spent two seasons on loan at his hometown club Plymouth Albion between 2011-2013, does offer versatility. He has played 10, 12 and 13 successfully for Exeter Chiefs, while he impressed at full-back during his spell with Albion.

He has been in good form recently for the Chiefs, scoring 105 points in his last six matches.

Lancaster said: “It’s unfortunate that Brad was injured but Henry has been playing well for Exeter and it’s good to be able to call him in.”

Lancaster says Slade is definitely in his thinking for the World Cup and could feature his weekend.

“The more I see him, the more I think he has fantastic potential,” he said.

“We’ll wait and see how training goes tomorrow and Wednesday. We’ve still got that decision to make. We have a lot of competition at 10 but he’s equally adept at centre as well and that is one of the positions I’d like to look at for the future.

“That could be short-term – Saturday and a week on Saturday – but World Cup camp, I’d say he’d definitely be in it.

“In the World Cup squad of 31, you need flexibility. When you’re picking backline options, you need three nines, two 10s, four centres and five in the back three. Some versatility is crucial, left-and right-footed kicking options are too. Sladey is a left-footer and can kick goals too.

“This Six Nations programme finishes in 12 days’ time, but the World Cup camp starts on 21 June. We have until the end of August to decide. Someone like him will be there or thereabouts.”

Slade joins fellow for Albion dual-registered back Jack Nowell in the England squad. The pair played for Plymouth together in 2011 under former international Graham Dawe.

If Slade does get the chance to face Scotland then he will become the first former Plymouth College pupil to play for England since Paul Ackford.

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