Henry Slade: Exeter boss praises England selection decision

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Henry Slade
Henry Slade was voted as the Premiership's Young Player of the Year last season
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Exeter boss Rob Baxter is pleased England's coaches have selected Chiefs centre Henry Slade for the World Cup.

Baxter had called for the 22-year-old to be picked ahead of Sam Burgess, but after impressive performances against France both players made the cut.

"All I wanted people to do was believe what they saw with their own eyes," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"What England's management has done is believe what they see and back the positives Henry brings."

There had been concern in some quarters about Slade's inexperience - he only made his Test debut against France earlier this month, having previously starred with England's Saxons and Under-20 sides.

He broke into Exeter's first team at the start of 2014 and was a first choice either at centre or fly-half last season as the Chiefs finished just outside the Premiership's top four.

"The only negative is he's not played a lot of international rugby," added Baxter.

"But it's exactly the right decision. You pick players on how they're playing and the form they're in when they're right in front of your face, not on statistics. Henry fully deserves his call-up.

"The key for him is that he doesn't just rest on his laurels now because, a little while ago, getting into the 31-man squad was a big achievement.

"Now he's in the 31, he's got to make sure he resets those goals and he works extremely hard to get into the starting line-up."