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“I’m not one to dwell on things,” says Henry Slade deep in the bowels of Exeter’s Sandy Park stadium.
It is less than two weeks since he was preparing for a World Cup final against South Africa, having been part of an England squad that had demolished New Zealand and Australia in the previous knockout rounds.
Eight days after that shattering defeat in Yokohama’s International Stadium, Slade played for Exeter against Bristol last Sunday – his first start for the club since they lost to Saracens in the Premiership final in June.
Slade’s attitude is even more impressive when you consider the rollercoaster of emotions he went through in the build-up and during the tournament in Japan.
A knee injury meant the 26-year-old missed all of England’s warm-up matches and he aggravated the injury on his comeback in the opening pool game against Tonga.
A man many thought would be first choice ended up with more of a bit-part role, with George Ford and Owen Farrell operating so well at 10 and 12.
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An impressive showing in the quarter-final win over Australia – his only start of the tournament, featuring a memorable break and kick ahead to set up Jonny May’s try – suggested a return to frontline status.
But Ford was brought back for the semi-final and final, with Slade forced to settle for replacement appearances early in the second half of both gam
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