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The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation

Eddie Jones' England weren't far away from making the grade.

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Top 14 club snaps up ex-Wasps back three Ali Crossdale

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images)

One-time England prospect Ali Crossdale is the latest free agent Wasps player to get fixed up after getting made redundant last month by the collapsed Gallagher Premiership club. The back three player was one of 167 players and staff told on October 17 that they no longer had a job with the stricken Coventry-based club, an announcement that signalled a race to secure employment elsewhere.

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Rival Premiership clubs have been a source of work but so too have clubs across the Channel in the Top 14. It was October 26 when ex-England back-rower Brad Shields confirmed he was joining Perpignan, the team promoted to the top flight as 2021/22 Pro D2 champions, and he has now been joined there by the 24-year-old Crossdale.

A club tweet read: “USA Perpignan formalises the signing of full-back/winger Alistair Crossdale until the end of the season + one with option.”

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Crossdale hadn’t the greatest of experiences at Wasps, making 18 appearances since his summer 2021 arrival from Saracens but not quite nailing a reputation as a must-pick in the eyes of director of rugby Lee Blackett, who has since secured employment as an assistant at Scarlets in the URC.

After Crossdale went from January through to May without making a Premiership appearance despite being available for selection, Blackett explained: “It’s just waiting at the moment for his opportunities.

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“He has had some Premiership Cup. I think every time Ali has got himself in position he has then gone and picked up a bit of a niggle and that is probably how his season has gone. But look, one thing that I can assure you, he is putting his hand up every week, he is really close to selection, he is training really well so I know his opportunity will be around the corner.”

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It was November 2017 when Crossdale made his Saracens debut, appearing in an Anglo-Welsh Cup fixture but despite getting called up for England training by Eddie Jones, he only made 14 appearances in total for the London club before trying his luck at Wasps. His next stop is now Perpignan, the club that is currently 13th in the Top 14 following a start to the season featuring just three wins in ten games.

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