Tuesday 23 May 2017

Anthony Watson

Anthony Kenneth China Watson

Wing, Full-Back - England & Bath
and now British & Irish Lion

Born: 26th February 1994
Mother: Viv
Father: Duncan
Brothers: Marcus & Callum
Uncle: Mark Watson (concorde pilot)
Girlfriend: Alyse

Weight: 94kg (14.11 St)
Height: 1.88M (6'2")


Caps: 26
Starts: 24
Tries: 13

London Irish

Caps: 18
Tries: 4


Caps: 72
Tries: 19

He was born in Ashford, Surrey and was another early starter to rugby joining the mini's programme at Effingham & Leatherhead RFC and sticking with them through the age groups right up to when he was selected to represent England at U16's.

He attended St Georges College in Weybridge, Surrey where he continued his exploits on the rugby field winning the national title with the U8's and representing the college at senior level as Full Back and Vice Captain while studying for A-Levels in Chemistry, Economics and PE.

He's 9th on the list of fastest Rugby Union players behind England team mate and fellow flyer Jonnie May (at number 6) and leader Ngwenya among others, and recorded a time of 11.2s while still at school though he claimed recently in an interview with Ugo Monye, that he's guess he could now run it in 10.85s (unverified). Its fast, but its no 10.3s, on grass, up hill, barefoot and into the wind like Aki Abiola (this may not have happened).

His most unforgettable match during his early years was against Italy for the England U16's where the last kick of the game won it for England and his rugby idols are Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Jonnie Wilkinson (obviously) and Israel Dagg.

His A-League rugby debut came in October 2010 for London Irish clinching the decision to make rugby his priority having previously been a member of Wimbledon Football Academy and having had trials at Chelsea. A great decision for the Bath, England and now British & Irish Lions player.

In 2011 he was shortlisted for the Young Sports Personality of the Year and later, in December he was selected to represent the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern Hemisphere in the Rugby Heroes Challenge at Twickenham.

He's best mates with fellow Bath and England man, Jonathan Joseph, loves the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen - let it go - and hails from a rugby family with brother Marcus having previously represented England U20's, England Sevens, GB Sevens at Rio and Newcastle Falcons in 2015 while his dad played half a season for Saracens at flanker before a knee injury brought his career to an end.

Domestic Career

His Professional debut was for London Irish in 2011 against Newcastle earning him the title of youngest player to ever represent the club and he remained with them until 2013 accruing 18 caps and scoring 4 tries, the first coming in 2012 against French side, Stade Montois.

On the 25th April, 2013 Anthony announced his move to Bath where he has remained to date having signed a new deal in 2014 to keep him at the west country club until at least 2017 - what will happen this year remains to be seen. In that time he has totalled 72 caps according to one source, 56 according to a second and 64 according to a third, but while they may not be able to agree on how many times he stepped out on the pitch they can agree that he has touched down 19 times since 2013.

International Career

Having represented England at U16 and U18 and at the age of just 17, Anthony was called up to the U20's in 2012. In 2013 he was part of the U20 Six Nations Championship and Junior World Championship winning side, beating New Zealand in the Semi's and Wales in the Final. He also has the unusual distinction of having scored a try for the England U18's sandwiched between tries for the U20's all within the space of 3 weeks.

At the age of just 19, he was called into the senior England squad to train before the Autumn International against Argentina in November 2013. In January the following year he was named in the 35 man squad for the Six Nations but ended up with the Saxons, marking his debut with a long range intercept try against the Irish Wolfhounds. His first senior appearance for England was in an uncapped friendly against the Crusaders during their summer tour to New Zealand, but he got his first official cap later that year when the Kiwis toured over here coming off the bench at Twickenham in a narrow loss 21-24. He went on to start all of the remaining Autumn International series matches against South Africa, Samoa and Australia.

His first try for England came against Wales at the Millennium stadium during the 2015 Six Nations Championship and he was subsequently selected in Stuart Lancaster's 31 man Rugby World Cup squad. He received his first man of the match award in the World Cup warm up game against France and started all 4 group stage matches scoring 3 tries in the competition before England crashed out in iconic style later that year.

He was an ever present member of the squad for Eddie Jones's first 9 games in charge and a key member of the 2016 Grand Slam winning side that also white-washed Australian in the summer before a broken jaw, suffered in October at a mini-camp in Brighton, took him out of the fray. So sure were they that he was inked in for the Six Nations, that he featured in this promotional video to build the hype before the competition started for the #scrumtogether campaign from Dove for Men.

His first 1 to 1 with Eddie was reportedly short and sweet "improve your footwork and get faster" - something he was able to really focus on while recovering from injury by studying the techniques of American sprinters in super slow-motion to refine his own.

His return in 2017 for the Six Nations, was initially delayed owing to a hamstring injury, but when he finally returned against Scotland, it was to replace an injured Elliot Daly in a record victory at Twickenham.

Anthony has also spoken out about World Rugby's introduction of the new high & dangerous tackles directives, stating that he believes they could make the game more dangerous as going lower will inevitably cause more concussions.

He has reportedly spoken with Eddie on numerous occasions about the Full Back position, though the details remain private for now, but its no surprise given how much strength in depth England have in almost every other position, and with Watson's ability to cover both Wing and Full-Back, it may not be long before we see him wearing the number 15 shirt (watch out Mike Brown).

Watson is a man who can be summed up (on a rugby pitch) in 2 words: 'Athleticism' and 'Pace', so what better way to sign off this post than with a tribute to the man himself. Enjoy.