By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
Wasps boss Lee Blackett is unaware of Christian Wade’s possible return to rugby union after revealing there has been no contact with the club’s acclaimed former wing.
Wade departed the Ricoh Arena for the NFL in 2018 but the move has not worked out and the 30-year-old has been released by the Buffalo Bills, fuelling speculation over his next move.
As the fourth highest try-scorer in Gallagher Premiership history, Wade would be welcomed at any number of clubs and he has hinted on social media that a change might be afoot.
Another good week in the bag but what’s the next move though?? 🙌🏿
— Christian Wade (@ChristianWade3) May 5, 2022
Blackett, however, has placed doubt on the prospect of being reunited with a lightning-fast try machine who spent six years at Wasps from 2011 to 2017 before growing disillusioned at being consistently overlooked by England.
“I love Wadey. He’s a great character, he’s a great finisher. But in terms of coming back to Wasps, or coming back to rugby union, I’ve not heard anything,” the head coach said.
“From a Wasps perspective, we were pretty gutted (when he left) because of the quality player he is, quality person he is.
“He’s one of those guys that when you saw him every day, no matter what he did, he always made you smile.
“There’s still people here who know Wadey really well. You still hear the stories and what people are saying.
“Only the other day there was a lot of people talking about him here. He is someone everyone keeps an eye on.”
Wasps head to Lyon on Saturday as one of only two English sides still fighting in European competition.
Their Challenge Cup semi-final takes place before Saracens visit Toulon, with no Premiership club making it into the last four of the Heineken Champions Cup. Meanwhile, France have four survivors across both competitions.
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 8, 2022
Blackett downplays the gap between the rival leagues, but he does respect Lyon who are sat fifth in the Top 14.
“Each season one league dominates more than another and while there were a couple of great French performances at the weekend, I wouldn’t go over the top about it,” he said.
“Lyon are in form and are a big collision team who score tries in broken field. If we made this game an individual game and it came down to individual moments, they have people who can really hurt you.
“So have we, but if the game breaks up and becomes loose then they have people who can hurt you big time. But there are certain things that we’ve seen and we’ll be going after.”