Henry Slade cleared to play in France and Italy after taking Covid vaccine

England international’s status for Champions Cup and Six Nations previously in doubt

It is understood that Henry Slade has made the decision to get vaccinated. Photograph:  Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images

It is understood that Henry Slade has made the decision to get vaccinated. Photograph: Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images

 

Henry Slade’s availability for England’s Guinness Six Nations away fixtures against Italy and France has been confirmed after Exeter revealed he is in contention to play in Montpellier on Sunday.

Slade, a type 1 diabetic, stated in May that he would decline the Covid vaccine, questioning whether “you can trust it” and pointing to the extensive testing programme in place at Gallagher Premiership clubs.

The 28-year-old later clarified those remarks that appeared in a national newspaper interview, revealing that because of his medical status he had experienced “issues in the past with the use of vaccines”.

It raised the prospect that England’s first-choice outside centre would be ruled out of the Six Nations trips to Italy and France, where Covid passes are compulsory to take part in any sporting event.

But Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has revealed that Slade can be selected for this weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Montpellier at the GGL Stadium in France and it is understood that he has now been vaccinated.

“Henry’s available, yes. Put it this way, if you don’t see him picked it won’t be because he’s injured, unless he gets injured in training,” said Baxter, who names his team at Friday lunchtime.

“The truth is, and I know Henry doesn’t mind me saying this, Henry never said he wasn’t going to get vaccinated.

“He said at the time he wanted to see what the situation was and that was months and months ago. That’s all I’m prepared to say.

“He never said he wasn’t going to have it, he said he wanted to see what the situation was. Everybody else seems to have surmised what they want from that.”

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