Henry Slade ready for Test rugby - Saxons coach Jon Callard

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
Henry Slade
Exeter Chiefs' Henry Slade was part of the England Under-20 side that won the 2013 junior World Cup
RBS Six Nations: Wales v England
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 6 February Kick-off: 20:05 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website, S4C online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

England Saxons coach Jon Callard believes Exeter Chiefs' player Henry Slade is ready for Test rugby.

Slade, 21, played at fly-half for the Saxons in Friday's 18-9 win over the Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork, scoring 13 of his side's points including a first-half try and two penalties.

"I'm always going to say Henry Slade's ready," Callard told BBC Radio 5 live.

"If the current injury crisis continues with backs, I've no doubt Henry could do a good job for England."

Head coach Stuart Lancaster was in the crowd in Cork on Friday and added Slade to the England senior training squad on Saturday.

Although primarily a fly-half, Slade can play across the back line and has featured at outside-centre for Exeter throughout this season.

Slade welcomed his move inside for the Saxons, adding: "It was nice to get back at 10, and to be goal-kicking as well, because obviously I've been playing 13 all season.

"Everyone hopes to be involved in the Six Nations, but all you can do is play well and that's what I'm trying to do."

Henry Slade
Made Exeter debut against Bath in the LV= Cup in January 2013
Kicked a conversion on his Premiership debut against London Irish in April 2013
Won 2013 Junior World Cup with England Under-20s
Played for England against the Barbarians in June 2014
Scored first Exeter try, against Harlequins, in September 2014
Scored 13 points in England Saxons 18-9 win against Ireland Wolfhounds, in January 215

Slade formed a midfield combination with Bath's Sam Burgess, who made his international debut as a rugby union player.

"Sam has a had a great week for us, but unfortunately didn't have the ball on the front foot and probably tried to force a couple of things," Callard said.

"But he was influential on the shape we had in attack. He pulled defenders out with his running, which created space out wide."

Meanwhile Callard praised the performance of lock Maro Itoje, who came on as an early replacement for James Gaskell.

Itoje captained the England U20s to the 2014 Junior World Championship, and has been getting regular game time for his club Saracens this season.

"Maro was just sensational when he came on, what a huge impact he has," Callard said.

"Whether he is ready for the Six Nations I can't say, whether he is ready for the World Cup I can't say, but what I can say is that he is going to be a big name for the future."

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