Henry Slade: England centre puts injury problems behind him as Exeter make final

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Henry Slade
Henry Slade has been included in the England squad for the summer tour to Australia

England centre Henry Slade says he has finally put his injury problems behind him after helping Exeter beat Wasps to reach their first Premiership final.

"The first few games, I think I came back expecting to pick up where I left off and was getting frustrated by not being up to the form of pre-injury.

"I think it took a few games to get my confidence back," Slade told BBC Sport.

"But this game and the last game I haven't thought about it at all so that's definitely a massive positive in my head and I now feel I'm completely over it."

Having lost kicking duties and the number 10 shirt to Gareth Steenson this season, Slade impressed at outside centre before his injury, although he did not score a try until the massive win at Harlequins on the final day of the regular season.

"I had the same expectations of myself, and it was disappointing not quite being able to put it to the back of my mind and not being able to do it," he said.

Henry Slade
Henry Slade missed the Six Nations after his injury on 5 December

"I had a lot of chats with the coaches on how I'm going to get through it and I just went back to basics and just focused on my job."

Exeter's win over Wasps means they will face European champions Saracens with the Premiership title at stake, just six years after reaching the game's top-flight.

And while the Chiefs may be underdogs, the players are confident they can win the domestic game's biggest prize.

"Maybe we're surprising other people, but internally as a squad and with the coacher and everyone behind us as well, there is a massive expectation for us and we know we have a lot of confidence in our ability and we've just got to show that next week," Slade added.

"I know Saracens have done the double on us this year, but we did the double on them last year.

"We definitely know we can beat them. At the end of the day it is another game of rugby, but there's massive stakes on the line and we've just got to go for it."