Friday 19 October 2018

'You just can't carry guys like that' - Luke Fitzgerald gives blunt assessment of Wasps star's defensive ability

13 October 2017; Jacob Stockdale of Ulster goes over to score his side's first try despite the tackle from Christian Wade of Wasps during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 1 match between Ulster and Wasps at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
13 October 2017; Jacob Stockdale of Ulster goes over to score his side's first try despite the tackle from Christian Wade of Wasps during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 1 match between Ulster and Wasps at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Ulster got their Champions Cup campaign off to a winning start at Kingspan Stadium last Friday night against Wasps and Luke Fitzgerald thinks the performance of visiting wing Christian Wade is a big reason why.

The flying finisher is electric in attack but hasn't played for England since 2010, with many questioning his defensive ability, and his frailties in the tackle were on show in Belfast.

Wade was caught out of position badly as Ulster completed a second half turnaround with two tries to deny Wasps even a losing bonus point, and Fitzgerald thinks that the big-spending English side are suffering from having the wing in the team.

Speaking on The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, Fitzgerald was blunt in assessing Wade's defensive contribution.

"How Christian Wade, who is right next to Stockdale when he passes it inside, doesn't tackle. He doesn't need to clean a guy out with a shoulder, just take him around the hips. It is braindead. It is braindead.

"You look at Wasps' squad and they should be world class, they should be absolutely outstanding. The backline there is quality but defensively you just can't carry guys who are going to be like that. They will let you down on the big stage.

"Someone like Christian Wade, that for me is exactly what he is all about. You just can't carry him in a tight game away from home."

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Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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