RUGBY: Watson's tribute to Bath's progress

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Anthony Watson Anthony Watson

CAPTAIN Stuart Hooper insists it is the young blood at Bath that has spearheaded their rise to prominence in the Aviva Premiership this season.

Of that upcoming talent there are two names that have featured most prominently, even catching the eye of England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

Both fly-half George Ford and winger Anthony Watson were included in the England training squad for the Six Nations at the start of this year and the former came on for his debut against Wales at Twickenham.

Ford, 21, and Watson, 20, have long and hopefully successful careers ahead of them but their impact this season has already been recognised with nominations for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award.

The Bath duo are joined by Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola, Gloucester Rugby lock Elliott Stooke, Northampton Saints flyer Jamie Elliott and Leicester Tigers fly-half Owen Williams on the shortlist.

But Watson is quick to pay tribute to his teammates after his breakthrough campaign.

"I guess it's nice to get some recognition but I don't read too much into that," he said.

"I think it's more recognition for the squad as a whole, you have to look at the forwards who provide the platform for guys like us and I know George (Ford) would say the same.

"We can't go out there and do what we want to do without front foot ball.

"The accolades are nice but it's more of a team one for how we perform as a whole.

"Coming back from the England set-up gave me a lot of confidence coming back to Bath and I learned a lot while I was there.

"There are a lot of old heads that could help me out, and relying on those boys have been a big help, someone like Mike Brown for example.

"I have not felt any added pressure, it has just been a big boost for my confidence."

The Land Rover Discovery of the Season award is designed to recognise the most impressive young players in the Aviva Premiership Rugby each season and reward them for their outstanding contribution to the competition.

The winner will be announced at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the London Hilton, Park Lane on May 15.

The winner will follow in the footsteps of previous winners  including Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi with Joe Launchbury claiming the prize last year.

To celebrate the player's achievement, they will have the opportunity to become a Land Rover ambassador, for the 2014/15 season.

And according to Watson there would be no more deserving winner than his teammate Ford who has showed maturity beyond his years at stand-off for the Blue, Black and White.

"George has been absolutely instrumental for me, we kick together on our days off with a few of the boys.," added Watson.

"His work ethic is second to none so he deserves every accolade that he gets."

Land Rover is Official Vehicle of Premiership Rugby. The Land Rover Discovery of The Season will be announced on 15 May at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards.

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