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The Wasps verdict on Ali Crossdale, their signing from Saracens

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Multiple media headlines were generated last month when it was announced that Springboks prop Vincent Koch is quitting Saracens to join Wasps next season but a transfer from London to Coventry isn’t unprecedented as England prospect Ali Crossdale made this same journey last July when he figured that his future in the game would best-served by swapping Premiership clubs. 

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The now 24-year-old (his birthday is January 9) had made a November 2017 debut for Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup but his appearances since then were fleeting as he only ever played in four Premiership matches for the club while he also had a loan spell at second-tier Bedford. 

Even after getting called up by Eddie Jones to England training in October 2020 and then being named as a 2021 Six Nations standby player, he continued to be sparingly used at Saracens despite scoring two tries versus Ampthill in his sole Championship campaign selection by Mark McCall.

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But Crossdale has since come of age at Wasps where he has managed nine Premiership appearances so far this season, six of them as the starting full-back and he is set to start in that position again this Sunday when league leaders Leicester visit Coventry.   

This progress by Crossdale has immensely pleased Blackett. “He has been good, he looks dangerous,” said the Wasps boss to RugbyPass. “It is exactly what we thought. We knew we had signed someone talented. He had been in training with England. He is just settling into the 15 jersey having really only played on the wing in terms of senior rugby and we are trying to get him into there – he is only going to get better and better.

“He talks really well. He is another one that has probably been injured a fair bit but without having loads of games behind him, he is actually quite a knowledgable guy. We’re happy. The best thing about Ali is there is plenty more in him, he is going to get better and better for us. I don’t think we have seen anywhere near the finished product yet.”

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Asked to name the standout Crossdale moment so far in the Wasps jersey, Blackett paused to reflect before answering: “Probably his finish on the first day against Bristol. Just his ability to finish. He finished two tries that day. It’s just that out-and-out pace and that finishing instinct that he has.”

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