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Slade getting tips from Wilkinson

England debutant Henry Slade has been honing his kicking game during sessions with Jonny Wilkinson.

Slade will win his first cap on Saturday after being selected in the number 13 jersey for the opening World Cup warm-up against France at Twickenham, forming a centre partnership with Sam Burgess.

The 22-year-old Exeter playmaker can operate across the midfield, offering England versatility if they select him as one of their four centres for the global showpiece on home soil.

To aid his development, he has been working with Wilkinson when the World Cup winner has visited the squad's Surrey training camp.

"Jonny comes here every now and again. The other day he was in and we were doing some kicking, giving us pointers. He's still got it!," Slade said.

Slade is excited by the prospect of playing alongside Burgess, who is looking to press his own claim to a place in England's World Cup squad just 10 months after switching codes from rugby league.

The powerful 26-year-old has been given the role of breaking the gainline from inside centre and Slade believes he already has an aura in union.

"Sam is vocal and brings a lot of experience, although it might not be in union. He played in a very successful side in league. He has that experience of being a winner," Slade said.

"A lot of things are very similar between the codes in terms of leadership and what it takes to win games.

"He is relatively new to the union side of things but has picked it up pretty quick and he definitely has an aura. You only have to look at him to see the size of the bloke.

"If you are struggling to get over the gainline, then all you have to do is give to Sam and he will get you that momentum back. He is a big weapon to be able to use."


From Belfast Telegraph