Wasps winger Christian Wade leaves rugby as he primes for NFL bid

Phil Blanche 02:19 25/10/2018
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Christian Wade is leaving rugby for the NFL

Wasps have announced winger Christian Wade has retired from Rugby union amid reports that he is to try to make a move into the NFL.

The 27-year-old has been released from his contract on confidential terms, Wasps said in a club statement.

“After playing nine years of professional sport for Wasps, I’ve decided to leave for personal reasons,” said wade, who won his only England cap against Argentina in 2013.

“I would like to thank Wasps chairman Derek Richardson and Dai (Young, director of Rugby) for their support, consideration and understanding in what is the most difficult decision of my life.

“I have loved the sport since I was introduced to it at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe.

“I would therefore like to thank everyone who has played a part in shaping my career.

“Rugby has privileged and honoured me with so many wonderful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“Finally, I want to thank my Wasps family: the club, my team-mates and especially the fans – you have always been superb to me. I wish everyone here all the very best for the future.”

Wasps are currently third in the Gallagher Premiership and bottom of their Champions Cup group after Saturday’s 35-35 draw with Bath.

“It’s very disappointing to lose a player of Wadey’s quality at this stage of the season,” Young said.

“The club held numerous discussions with him to try and convince him to keep pushing forward with Wasps but in the end it was clear this is the path he wished to go down.

“The club nevertheless wants to wish him all the best with his future career path and put on record our thanks for the contribution Christian has made to Wasps Rugby.”

Slough-born Wade spent his entire senior Rugby career at Wasps and is third on the Premiership’s all-time try scorer list with 82.

As well as his one England cap, he was part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions squad on the tour of Australia.

But he has not won senior international honours since, with his size – he is 5ft 8ins tall and weighs just over 13-and-a-half stone – and defensive attributes said to have counted against him.

During a holiday to America in June, Wade posted a video of himself on Instagram doing a NFL-style fitness workout, which he signed off with the hashtag #OnlyTheBeginning.

Wade would not be the first Rugby union player to try his hand at Gridiron.

Christian Scotland-Williamson moved from Worcester to join the Pittsburgh Steelers, while last year Alex Gray left Yorkshire Carnegie to link up with the Atlanta Falcons.

The NFL’s International Player Pathway Programme allows overseas players to be fast-tracked into American Football.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata, a former NRL Under-20s Rugby league player in Australia, and Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada this year became the first two members of the Pathway Programme to make a final 53-man NFL roster .

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