London Irish star aiming for Junior World ChampionshipsBy Alan Manicom
March 16, 2012
Anthony Watson is aiming to book his ticket to this summer’s Junior World Championships in South Africa by helping England Under-20s clinch the Six Nations Championship.
The 18-year-old winger is one of three London Irish players in Rob Hunter’s squad to face Ireland at Adams Park tonight (live on Sky Spts 2, 8.05pm kick-off).
Watson, fellow winger Marland Yarde and second-row forward David Sisi were in the side that lost 12-8 to France in Vannes last Saturday.
But England still have the U-20s Six Nations championship title in their own hands thanks to previous wins over Scotland, Italy and Wales, and victory over Ireland at High Wycombe tonight would retain the trophy.
Watson, who at the age of 17 is the youngest player to represent London Irish in the professional era, said: “I am not expecting to play much in the Premiership this season now that we have players back from injury.
“But I would like to make the England Under-20s squad for the World Championships.”
He went on tour to South Africa last summer with England Under-18s and added: “I’d love to go back there. Last time I went to George and Port Elizabeth, but the Junior World Championships are being split between Cape Town and Stellenbosch.”
Watson is still eligible for the Under-18s and in the space of three weeks in February he had the unusual distinction of sandwiching a try for that side against France between one off the bench for England U-20s against Scotland and two against Wales.
Watson continued: “A lot of the team have progressed from the Under-18s to the Under-20s.
“The biggest difference between playing for the two is that the Under-18s normally meet up on a Friday before the match whereas the Under-20s have the whole week training which gives you more chance to prepare.”
Watson, whose father Duncan spent half a season with Saracens before a knee injury intervened, was in the England Under-18 team that lost to Ireland in last year’s European final in France.
He said: “The format is slightly different as an Under-18. Instead of it all being on a league basis, you have a final. We had previously beaten Ireland so it was disappointing to lose to them.”
But as he goes looking for revenge tonight, he added: “It is great having Marland in the team because we both play on the wing for the same club and know how each other plays. That helps when we are practising anything relevant to the back three.”
Yarde scored a hat-trick of tries for England Under-20s against Scotland at Firhill in the Six Nations Championship opener in February and another touchdown followed against Wales three weeks later.