Slade boost for England
INJURY UPDATE: Henry Slade now appears to be available for all of England’s Six Nations matches after Exeter said he was in contention to play in their Champions Cup match against French side Montpellier on Sunday.
Slade, a diabetic, expressed doubts over taking a COVID-19 vaccine, questioning whether “you can trust it” as he highlighted the testing programme in place at English Premiership clubs.
The 28-year-old subsequently clarified those comments in a British newspaper interview, revealing that, due to his medical status, he had experienced “issues in the past with the use of vaccines”.
That in turn raised the prospect that the 43-times capped Slade, who has established himself as England’s first-choice outside centre, would be unable to travel for Six Nations matches against Italy and France because of tough COVID-19 rules in those countries.
But Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said on Thursday that Slade could be selected for this weekend’s match in France, indicating the midfielder had been vaccinated.
“Henry’s available, yes. Put it this way, if you don’t see him picked it won’t be because he’s injured, unless he gets injured in training,” said Baxter, who names his team on Friday.
“The truth is, and I know Henry doesn’t mind me saying this, Henry never said he wasn’t going to get vaccinated.”
Baxter added: “He said at the time he wanted to see what the situation was and that was months and months ago. That’s all I’m prepared to say.
“He never said he wasn’t going to have it, he said he wanted to see what the situation was. Everybody else seems to have surmised what they want from that.”