Our International Scout Notes returns, with Jonathan Frank picking out players that caught the eye this weekend.
Whilst there were a number of players that stood out in this incredible match, there was one player who signalled his intent for the rest of the season and for international recognition. The exciting young prospect of Christian Wade is likely to cement a place in the England fold with performances like this. Despite being on the losing side, the flying winger demonstrated his skill opening the scoring, capping off a brilliant move by Wasps with a burst of speed to take him over the line. His selfless act for Varndell’s try was questionable, but the youngster notched his second with a piece of virtuoso wing play, standing up his opposite number with quick feet before stepping on the gas to accelerate away. Wasps lead was extinguished by the class and determination of Harlequins but Wade is certainly one to keep a close eye on.
The Gloucester fly-half racked up 15 points with an outstanding kicking display. In a game that lacked real excitement, it was Burns’ consistency that stood out. An intelligent interception saw him break clear of the Northampton backline, but he seemed to lack the pace to add to his tally. Burns also highlighted his footballing skill, noticing a gap behind Northampton, and his clever chip and smart follow-through almost saw Gloucester cross the line. Despite Northampton holding firm for the 4 points, Burns certainly showed his potential for the season ahead.
Whilst we all know what he is capable of, Ashton seemed to be back to his best after his revitalising move. His stupid late block which saw him sin-binned is a black mark against his name, but his two tries and sublime assist demonstrated what an excellent signing he may turn out to be for Saracens this season. Nick Mullins’ commentary, “surely not a hat-trick”, summed up Ashton’s excellent performance as he broke through to set up another try. It was a brilliant start for the England winger with only the slightest hint of a swallow dive.
By Jonathan Frank