Exeter's Henry Slade 'one of best defensive centres in Premiership'

Henry Slade goes over against Newcastle
Slade had never scored a try for Exeter until three games ago

Exeter coach Ali Hepher says Henry Slade is one of the best defensive centres in the Premiership.

The 21-year-old has moved from fly-half to centre this season and scored his third try in as many games as

"He's one of the best centres defensively in the Premiership, there's no question about that," Hepher said.

"He reads the game well, he's aggressive and in the tackle he's as good as anything."

Slade, who has been been an ever-present in the Exeter line-up this season, only made his Chiefs debut in an in January last year.

Henry Slade
October 2011: Makes his professional debut on dual registration at Plymouth Albion in the Championship
January 2013: Has his Exeter debut against Bath in the LV Cup
April 2013: Plays his first Premiership match against London Irish
June 2013: Wins the 2013 Junior World Cup with England U20s
June 2014: Plays for England against the Barbarians
September 2014: Scores his first Exeter try in the 36-13 win over Harlequins

But since then he has helped the England Under-20 side and the Under-20 Six Nations.

He has been called up to the England Saxons side, featured for England and

"We're really pleased with how he's developing. He's still young and developing and learning all the time, but he's coming through as a real quality Premiership player, if not a bit more, " Hepher told BBC Radio Devon.

"We'll keep him grounded here. If he doesn't perform that well he's often the first to admit it; he's his own harshest critic.

"But equally we won't let him run away with things, not that he needs that; he's very self-driven.

"He works himself really hard and he knows how to get there, and how to get there is putting in the hard work in and around the club and at home at well.

"He lives his life to it and he's done really well for us."