Christian Wade said he felt he was playing the best rugby of his career after scoring two tries in this 40-33 win over Worcester, a brace which drew him level with Kenny Logan as Wasps’ all-time leading try scorer on 79.
The 25-year-old took his season’s tally to 14, cementing his place at the top of the Aviva Premiership charts and earning high praise from Wasps’ otherwise distinctly unimpressed head coach Dai Young, who described Wade as “the difference between the two teams on the day” and a player he “would not swap for anyone.”
Wade, though, was phlegmatic about his performance afterwards, saying he was more concerned with getting home to cook his mother a special Mother’s Day Caribbean meal of chicken, rice and peas and insisting he harboured no great expectations of an England recall for the Argentina tour, or an 11th hour Lions call-up as he experienced four years ago.
“No not really,” he said. “Since the  World Cup – not getting selected and stuff – I’ve just stripped everything back to basics. Now I just try to improve week by week and just enjoy it. That’s been my thing since 2015 and I’ll continue like that. I’m improving all the time. I was left out for whatever reason [in 2015] but I’ve moved on.
"When you’re younger you have aspirations to play for your country and all that stuff. But obviously there have been a lot of things which have happened; injuries and not being selected. As I say, since 2015 I’ve just stripped back and tried to enjoy my rugby. If it happens, I’m ready to go. And if it doesn’t I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. That’s how I’m playing it."
Wade was certainly too hot for Worcester to handle here, scything through the midfield for his first with a trademark burst of acceleration, leaving four defenders clutching at thin air and then wriggling clear out on the right touchline for his second.
Those two first-half tries came either side of a Will Rowlands effort, while Worcester also scored three in the first half, Josh Adams going over twice after Bryce Heem’s score.
After Heem saw red for upending Willie le Roux in the air – an accident but a nasty one, which saw Le Roux remain motionless on the turf for a good few minutes – Wasps’ Alapati Leiua, Josh Bassett and Brendan Macken scored.
Biyi Alo and Jackson Willison crossed late on for 14-man Warriors, though, as they gained two bonus points, leaving Worcester's director of rugby Gary Gold delighted with his team's fighting spirit.
"I’m not sure I could ask anymore from my team," he said, adding that while he had no issue with Heem's red card he was clear there was no malice involved.
"I’m not sure what the guy on the ground is supposed to do differently," he said when asked about the law.
"I know nobody wants injuries but I think common sense needs to prevail. Next thing we’re going to stop having kick offs. We’ll be chucking the ball in like netball. Aerial collisions are part of the game. You can’t be taking people out in the air with elbows up but you need common sense to prevail."
Young, meanwhile, questioned whether his team had the “belly for the fight” ahead of a key run of fixtures which will determine whether the league leaders can finish off the season in style.
“We certainly won’t go to Dublin and get a result playing like that,” he said of Saturday’s game against Leinster in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.
“We can make up all the excuses under the sun. But the reality is the performance didn’t match the five points and a win. There were very few parts of our game I was happy with today. Those two late tries by Worcester gave the scoreline a more accurate feel.
“Christian Wade was probably the difference today. [Leinster fly- half Jonathan] Sexton will look to attack him in the air [next week] which everyone does because he’s not going to grow bigger in the next week.
“But I’m not worried by that. Very rarely does Christian not beat the first man. I wouldn’t swap him for anyone.”
Young – who rested Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly and Nathan Hughes for this fixture – said he expected James Haskell, who limped off here with a dead leg, to be fit for Saturday.