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Wade loving local ties

London Wasps winger Christian Wade says playing professional rugby in High Wycombe, the town in which he grew up and still lives in, remains something he holds in special esteem.

Wade is a High Wycombe native who was educated and first came into contact with rugby at the local Royal Grammar School, which has a strong tradition in developing players for London Wasps with players such as Tom Rees, Jack Wallace and Matt Dawson all coming through their system.

Despite not being interested in rugby as a youngster, the young flyer says that his link with Wasps was something that came naturally given where he was growing up.

“My old school, RGS High Wycombe have got some clear links with Wasps. I don’t know whether that was developed through players such as Matt Dawson and Tom Rees or whether it was that London Wasps moved to Adams Park but that was obviously huge for me.”

“When I was younger I didn’t follow rugby at all, didn’t know of any teams or anything like that. On joining RGS at the age of 12 I was introduced to the game of rugby because they didn’t play football and I got involved at that point. I was lucky enough to then start playing for the county and then to get picked up by Wasps and train with them during the summer holidays. The next stage was probably playing with the U18s in my last year of school while continuing to be linked with Wasps. After school I was given an academy contract by Wasps and then went away with England Sevens before playing for England U20s and then away with the seniors last summer. It’s been a great adventure so far.”

As a town, Wycombe traditionally is best known for its football team, but after the past decade London Wasps have made their mark on the town. Wade says that as a Wycombe local he has noticed the increasing awareness of the local Premiership team.

“A lot of the time when I am in town, out shopping or for food or whatever fans will recognise me. The Buckinghamshire area is massive and there are a lot of clubs from minis right through to adult rugby. There are a lot of boys who have come from that area. Tom Varndell played for Chinnor, Jack Wallace, myself and a lot more just within this squad are local.”

Ahead of the 2012/13 season Wade was selected by Stuart Lancaster for England’s tour to South Africa and he says that experience has served as a signpost for him, letting him assess where he is as a player and how far he has got to go.

“It was awesome just to be involved in the whole set up and it opened my eyes to where I was at as a player and I was able to see how top players from across the country operate and conduct themselves. It was just a great experience for me to bring into my own development.”

Despite the obvious benefits of his rise, Wade says that he has had to expand his game this year as the opposition begin to realise the threat he poses.

“I think this year people are definitely more aware of me as a player and I feel as if to get any real opportunity I am having to work off the wing and am having to expand my game really. I definitely feel as if there has been more attention paid to me.”

“If I am being marked out of the game there is obviously going to be space elsewhere so it is about me being smart and popping up in other areas where I can then use my skills to make line breaks or as a decoy.”

Last weekend London Wasps travelled to Italy where they maintained their 100% in the Amlin Challenge Cup with a bonus point win over Rugby Mogliano, where Wade contributed with two tries of his own.

“It was a good game to be involved in. I was glad that I got the opportunity to start and it was good to get back on the score sheet too. There were quite a lot of opportunities and I think we did well as a team to earn that bonus point in the first half and then push on in the second half.”

This weekend the team return to the Aviva Premiership and return to Adams Park, where Wade is likely to be joined by his family, albeit from the stands, supporting the winger as he and his teammates take on Aviva Premiership newcomers, London Welsh.

“I think that the atmosphere created at Wasps is one that is attractive to families. The way my family are, if someone is doing something everyone wants to be there to support and Wasps make that very easy for them to be able to do that. I am the first person in my family to be involved with rugby at this kind of level which gives my family something to really get behind. Rugby has had a massive impact on my whole family. My cousin played to county level but other than that I am the only person playing rugby at a high level. The players’ families will regularly be at Adams Park watching, parents, wives, girlfriends, kids and that is true of the supporters too, it is a real family based club.”

“When Adams Park is busy there is no place better. The last game of last season was a sell out and that was truly one of my highlights, playing in front of that crowd. Our supporters are always hugely vocal and the more people we have there the better.”

Tickets for this Sunday's clash against London Welsh are still available from wasps.co.uk or by calling the Ticket Office Hotline on 0844 225 2990.

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