Wasps boss Dai Young backed winger Christian Wade to earn a place in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad after scoring his 15th try of the season during his side's last-gasp 32-30 victory over Northampton.
The Midlanders were indebted to a late try from prop Matt Mullan and Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion with the last kick of the game for a win which kept them five points ahead of Exeter at the Premiership summit.
Wade has not played Test rugby since England’s 2013 tour to Argentina, although Young believes the 25-year-old has the credentials to make the final cut for this summer’s Lions tussle with New Zealand.
“I’d be surprised if Warren Gatland doesn’t know his [Wade’s] strengths and I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t looking at him seriously for the Lions,” said Young.
“I wouldn’t swap Christian for anybody. People talk about his defensive frailties but that was a couple of years ago. He’s put that to bed, shown he can defend and is making far better decisions on when to come in and when to stay out.”
Despite topping the Premiership pile and holding a six-point advantage over defending champions Saracens in third, Young maintains that the Allianz Park outfit are the favourites for the top-flight crown.
“We’ve got another couple of gears we can go to, but Saracens are still the team to beat,” added Young. “We’ve just got to keep winning and get ourselves into the competition’s latter stages.”
England utility back Elliot Daly and Joe Simpson also crossed the line for Wasps, while Ben Foden, Alex Waller, George North, Ahsee Tuala and Teimana Harrison scored for Saints.