Christian Wade: The Rugby Player From Slough Swapping Tries For Touchdowns

Christian Wade Made A Stunning Debut In The NFL For The Buffalo Bills On Thursday Night
19:00, 09 Aug 2019

On Thursday night, former Wasps and England winger Christian Wade made a glorious start to life on the gridiron when he scored a 65-yard touchdown with his first touch in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills.

It was a stunning start to the running back’s new career Stateside as Wade tore through the Indianapolis Colts defence with ease to score in a 24-16 pre-season friendly victory.

Wade began playing rugby union at school and growing up he represented the England U16s, U18s and U20s, as well as Wasps at the Middlesex Sevens as a schoolboy.

He made his debut for the Wasps first team in 2011 and spent seven years with the then London-based and later Coventry-based club, making 165 appearances in total.

The Slough-born winger, who is tied for third in the Premiership's all-time try-scorers list with 82, announced in October 2018 that he was retiring from rugby to pursue his NFL career and joined the Bills in April as part of the league's International Player Pathway, a programme which aims to give athletes from outside the US an opportunity to train in the league and earn a place on a team’s roster.

Wade, who was on the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour, speaking about his glittering debut, said:

I knew where I was going even before the ball came because they overloaded one side. Then as soon as I got the ball I was off to the races. I was looking up at the screen to see if any of the linebackers or anyone was coming up behind me.

He impressed on-lookers too, with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen among his admirers: “Huge congratulations to Christian Wade. Watching him score that touchdown was one of the coolest experiences of my football career and I wasn't even on the field.”

Wade is far from the first athlete to swap one sport for another; basketball great Michael Jordan famously swapped the Chicago Bulls for baseball’s Chicago White Sox in 1993 and more recently Conor McGregor took time away from the octagon to challenge Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring. 

Fingers crossed that Wade’s foray into American football is more successful than those, though.