Henry Slade living the dream as he closes in on clean sweep of rugby's trophies

Henry Slade knows he is living the dream and he is not about to pinch himself.

In what has been an awful year for so many, the Exeter star has enjoyed as rich a run of success as rugby has known.

Last month he lifted the European Cup, the Premiership and the Six Nations on successive weekends, scoring tries in all three ‘finals’.

Now he is two England wins from making it four major trophies in 50 days by adding the Autumn Nations Cup.

“It’s been a pretty awesome year,” admitted Slade. “It could have been a bit better with people there to watch it. Apart from that it has been unbelievable.”

Slade scores in England’s Six Nations title-clinching win over Italy in Rome and (below) with trophy

Slade’s golden run has played out against a backdrop of disruption, uncertainty and tragedy across the world.

Yet for a player who has had his fair share of bad luck with injuries and type 1 diabetes, the year has brought great joy.

The first lockdown bought him time to recover from a broken leg, pushing back the domestic season and Six Nations until he was fit to take part.

Slade scores in Premiership final win over Wasps and (below) with his man of the match award

It also allowed him to savour becoming a first-time dad when partner Megan gave birth to daughter Olive.

And now a match on Saturday against Wales, followed in all probability by a final against France, stands between the 27-year-old and a perfect 2020.

“It is pretty strange circumstances,” Slade conceded. “It’ll never happen again when you have them all back-to-back and the Six Nations in October.

Hooray Henry: Slade scores Exeter’s all-important try in their European Cup final win over Racing…

…and celebrates (left) with Jack Yeandle, Alec Hepburn, Ben Moon and Gareth Steenson

“So for us to have done that was awesome; three on the bounce is something I will probably never get to do again and something I will cherish forever.”

Slade could not have imagined such good fortune when England lost the World Cup final a year ago and he returned home to fracture his ankle in a club game. But fate then intervened.

“If any time was a good time for a lockdown, yeah, I suppose it gave me a chance to get rid of some niggles,” he said.

Exeter won Heineken Cup (above) and Premiership title a week later (below)

“I was just coming back from a broken leg and it was probably still a little bit sore, so to have that time off and to get fully sorted was good.

“Lockdown was was almost like a mini sabbatical. It was frustrating not knowing when or if the season was going to restart, but we didn’t let that get in the way.

“We knuckled down, got some hard work done and reaped the benefits later on.”

England today name their side to face Wales and Ollie Lawrence’s hip injury means a new midfield partner for Slade.


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