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Re: Saracens On This Day
Posted by: Haslam
Date: 13/09/2017 11:40
Saracens On This Day 13th September
13th September 1983 Chris Wyles

There are 11 days between the 31st of August and the 31st of May where Saracens havent played a game in the last 23 seasons. This is the first one. So I need someone to step in to fill the gap, and who better than the ultimate utility back - Chris Wyles because the 13th of September is his birthday 34 today!

Wyles is the second most experienced member of the current squad with 228 appearances and more than 60 tries having joined Saracens in 2008 from Northampton Saints. Hes appeared in the Centres, at Full Back and on the Wing often moving around to incorporate the rest of the squad.

Born in the USA, Wyles moved to the UK at 11 and went to school in Hertfordshire, then went to Nottingham University to take a degree in politics. It was during this time he was picked up by Tigers academy and then Nottingham RFC before moving on to Northampton for 9 appearances in the 2006-07 season. Saints were relegated at the end of that season but Wyles had played well enough to get the attention of the US Sevens selectors and he was picked for the Hong Kong Sevens before getting drafted into the 2007 world cup squad.

At the world cup he started all the US games and even scored against South Africa. While the Americans lost their four pool games they were competitive against England, Samoa and Tonga and justified their inclusion with some fine scores. While it was Takudzwa Ngwenya who took the plaudits for 2007 Try of the Year, Wyles caught the eye of Eddie Jones and picked up a Saracens contract for 2008-09.

My memories of his early appearances for us are as Mr Dependable, particularly under the high ball. In the kick heavy rugby we played in the late 2000s this was crucial. Despite never getting the plaudits of fellow back three players Goode, Strettle or Ashton hes been a main stay of the side particularly in big games. Wyles is one of only four players to have started each of the three Aviva and two European Cup winning finals (Send me your guesses below on the other three). Solid defensively, aggressive going forwards and always, always consistent he is really a classic Saracen unsung hero.

The same is true internationally - in the 2011 world cup Wyles kicked the winning points in the USs victory over Russia. Before another 4 appearances as squad captain in 2015 - he leads the US side in both World Cup appearances and tries. He eventually announced his internal retirement from XVs in 2016 on 54 caps, allowing him to focus on Sevens. After shifting to play predominately on the wing for Saracens Wyles made the Olympic Sevens team in Rio 2016 as the 8th oldest player in the tournament. The US finished 9th defending their gold medal from 1924.

Not content with winding down his career as an unofficial spokesperson for any Saracens game with an American connection, Wyles has partnered with Alistair Hargreaves to launch Wolfpack beer currently available in 37 bars across London. Hargreaves can now focus on the company full time after an unfortunate early retirement but as Sarries fans we can hope it will be a while yet before Wyles joins him.

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