RUGBY: Watson talks up wing options

Bath's Anthony Watson

Bath's Anthony Watson

First published in Sport

ENGLAND'S latest batch of young wing talent can help offset Stuart Lancaster's RBS 6 Nations injury concerns, according to Bath's Anthony Watson.

The 19-year-old claimed an opportunist try as England Saxons slipped up 14-8 to Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Former London Irish wing Watson dropped down from England's Six Nations squad to replace injured Wasps wing Tom Varndell.

England head coach Lancaster put Watson into the second-string fray to boost his time on the wing this term, after featuring regularly at full-back with Bath.

Razor-sharp finishers Marland Yarde and Christian Wade would have all-but demanded Six Nations selection were it not for injury.

Gloucester wing Jonny May, Exeter's Jack Nowell and Watson have stepped in to fill the void, while the likes of Chris Ashton and Mike Brown offer the experience.

And Watson believes England still have plenty of firepower out wide, ahead of their championship opener in France on Saturday.

"It's great to be rewarded for good form," said Watson.

"There have been a lot of good wingers already in the mix this season, the likes of Jack Nowell and Jonny May, they are quality wingers.

"So I think it's good for us to get an opportunity to get in and around the training camp, and just to try to get better as players.

"It was a great experience to get down to Pennyhill with the senior guys, and this was a great opportunity to get time on the wing.

"I just embraced it with both hands."

Watson was parachuted into the Saxons on Wednesday night, and had just two training sessions before Saturday's Ireland clash.

Head coach Jon Callard admitted the teenager had endured a heavier week's training than planned.

Watson himself was simply happy for the action.

"Stuart just said he wanted me to get some more game time on the wing, I had only played there twice this season and it was good to get a test against a tough Ireland side," he said.

"It wasn't too much of a transition because a lot of it is interlinked.

"It's been a good experience in the England camp, awesome just to learn from the likes of Ashy (Chris Ashton) and the other back-there players.

"We've all developed a lot, even in the short time we've been there.

"I'm just trying to develop as quickly as I can and see how far that takes me, I can't afford to look too far ahead.

"Being able to play both full-back and wing has been really key, and it's helped me a lot.

"There are a few things you've got to adjust to in camp, and having Jack (Nowell) there has been awesome.

"We've played and trained a lot together in the past, and I think that's stood us both in good stead."

Craig Gilroy's knock forward handed Watson the chance to steam home for England's sole try on a frustrating night against the Wolfhounds.

Rejecting any acclaim for that score, Watson said: "I guess I was just fortunate to get the chance, as part of the defensive system we run I was able to pounce on the loose ball and run it in for the try.

"I would say it was good to get up and get the opportunity.

"We were just up in their face, and our pressure meant we managed to get the try from it."

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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