Slade's hungry for more
By Mark Stevens
Having been given his first taste of Aviva Premiership action at the weekend, Exeter Chiefs youngster Henry Slade says he is keen to sample more over the remaining few weeks of the season.
The talented fly-half was handed his top flight debut when he came off the bench during the second half of Exeter's 27-6 home win over London Irish.
It was indeed a special moment for the 20-year-old, who with his first Premiership touch came within a whisker of marking his big day with a first-ever try.
Sadly, it was not to be for Slade as referee Martin Fox adjudged his charge for the line had been held up by an Irish opponent. However, moments later he was able to register his first points, converting Dave Ewers' late try with aplomb.
Reflecting on his first Premiership outing, the Plymouth-born back said: "I was delighted to get on for the last couple of minutes. I was a little bit nervous, but I have had that feeling a couple of times after being on the bench the last couple of weeks and nearly coming on.
"I didn't feel so bad this week, it was probably the right time and I didn't have too much time to think about it."
In what has been a big year for Slade, not only has he figured for the Chiefs in both the Premiership and LV= Cup, but he was also a part of England's Under-20s side that lifted the Six Nations title against Wales last month.
Soon he is expected to be part of the England set-up once again when they travel to France for the Junior World Cup. That, however, is for the future and for now Slade's focus is firmly on the Chiefs as they look to book themselves a top six place in the Premiership.
Last Saturday's success over Irish helped lift Rob Baxter's side into the top six, ahead of both Bath and London Wasps, the latter of whom they face in their penultimate league fixture this weekend at Adams Park.
"It has been a long season but hopefully I can keep coming on in the last few minutes in the final two games of the season," said Slade. "We have got to have a really good training week this week and make sure we have the same attitude again as we had last week. We want more strong carries and to attack the game – that's all you can do.
"We showed great determination, especially with the weather being so bad against London Irish. We played in the right areas of the field and took our chances really well. Irish are a tough side with some great individual players in there. The boys were just really glad that we came away with the result.
"We have put ourselves up there with a good couple of wins in recent weeks. We just need to keep that level of performance and hopefully we can get the job done."
With Wasps next on the agenda, followed by a final-day meeting at home to Gloucester, Slade is relishing being involved in what is such a crucial period for the Devon club.
And lining up alongside him in the Exeter ranks are fellow young guns Ewers and Jack Nowell, both of whom have impressed greatly in recent weeks having been given their chance by Baxter.
Slade added: "It is great to be able to do it with those boys. We live together and spend a lot of time together, so it is great to be on the pitch with them as well. Hopefully, there will be more of that to see."