Ten minutes into last Friday’s match between Worcester and London Wasps the attacking side whisked off-the-top lineout ball into midfield where inside centre Charlie Hayter sliced, arrow-straight right through the heart of the defence. It was the way it was meant to be.
Except for the small fact Hayter was a member of the visiting team and not the hosts’ – having been released by Warriors before the Sixways supporters had had so much as a glimpse of his potent combination of pace and power.
The image of Hayter rampaging behind opponents is one that has been a feature of West Midlands rugby for the last couple of years, first at Stourbridge, then earlier this season at Moseley whom he joined after being shown the door by Worcester.
Well, he was back last week and even though the shirt wasn’t Blue and Gold the vision was unmistakable as Hayter marked his Premiership debut with an impressive display against his former employers.
Even more so given the fact he was supposed to start the match on the bench until Chris Bell cried off in the warm-up. “I was told five minutes before the game I was starting,” Hayter said.
“It was kind of good in a way I didn’t have chance to get any nerves and just got straight in at the deep end. It’d been a good preparation all week, we have no excuses there, boys chop and change the whole time in the week and it just didn’t happen today on the pitch.”
Unfortunately for the 23-year-old the first top-flight appearance of his career ended in a 29-23 reverse, the fairytale ending didn’t quite come to pass. But he made a very positive impression and it was difficult not to wonder how he’d have fared as a Warrior.
It was to Moseley’s benefit they didn’t. In 14 games for the Championship strugglers he bagged six tries and even though he left to join Wasps two months ago he is still their top scorer.
Moseley coach Kevin Maggs always described him as a Premiership player at a Championship club and his belief was proved correct when Dai Young made an approach after Hayter impressed for the division’s select XV against the New Zealand Maoris.
But Hayter knows what helped him most. “Those few months at Moseley were huge for me,” he said. “Kevin Maggs and everyone there gave me that Championship experience and the game-time I was craving. I wouldn’t be at Wasps without them, I owe them a huge amount.
“I have enjoyed every minute of being out there and playing. I just want to take every opportunity and use it as well as I can.
“There are a few decent centres at Wasps – you have got quality inside and outside. It’s a competitive position. As long as I can learn from those boys around me I will be happy. There are a lot of international and Premiership stars here and I am learning from them every day in training and taking the little percentages on that. I’ll just keep building as best I can.”