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Marcus Watson ready for England Sevens kick-off

24 November 2011

  • Midfield playmaking role for former England U20 wing
  • Scotland, Tonga and Wales the opponents on Day One
Marcus Watson preparing for the start of the new sevens campaign

Photo: Getty Images

Young Saracens wing Marcus Watson has a central role to play as England prepare to kick off the HSBC Sevens World Series.

England face Scotland, Tonga and Wales on the opening day of the Gold Coast Sevens – live on Sky Sports from 06:00 GMT on Friday – in the first of nine global tournaments this season.

Former Under 20 international Watson is the youngest player in head coach Ben Ryan's 12-man squad at the age of 20 and going into his fourth World Series tournament.

And as one of England's midfield playmakers and kickers his role is to pull the strings so that the rest of his teammates – including prolific try-scorers Dan Norton and Nick Royle – can play.

"I'm definitely more comfortable in this game now," said Watson. "When I started in Adelaide I was more of a centre and now I've moved in to the 10 role and I'm getting used to playing, the players around me and I'm enjoying it.

"When I get the ball on the wing playing 15s the choice is pretty much to run every time. Now I've had to vary my game being the distributor, getting used to communicate more, which is something I'm working on because being that loud doesn't come that naturally to me. I think it's going well so far."

The World Series has a new starting venue at Skilled Park in Robina, a couple of miles inland from the coastal strip and Surfers Paradise. The teams then head for tournaments in Dubai (December 2-3) and Port Elizabeth (December 9-10) before a short winter break.

Watson added: "We went to see the stadium yesterday and it's looking pretty good. There'll be more [of a crowd] than there was at Adelaide last year so the Australian leg of the series is getting bigger.

"The pitch looks nice. It's fast, which is good. I'd definitely say that's an advantage and with players like Matt Turner, Dan Norton and Nick Royle we've got a lot of pace so we might look to get the ball as wide as we can, then we've got people in the middle with some footwork like Isoa Damudamu, so it should suit us."

England had a shot at the world title last season before fading at the final two legs of the series but the full-time sevens programme is continuing to evolve and improve with more players available to head coach Ryan in 2011-12.

"I think we can go really well this year," said Watson, the brother of England U18 full back Anthony. "It's been a pretty hefty pre-season, fitness testing results show we've improved on fitness and speed, and in terms of skills we've got better too because we've been training as a team every week. Things are definitely on the up.

"Our goal is to win [the series], it will be every year, and I'd like to think we've improved from last year, so it gives us a better chance. We finished third last year and we'll definitely look to improve on that."

England’s opening day games in Pool D are against Scotland (03:19 GMT), Tonga (06:25) and Wales (10.52). Follow their progress on Twitter @official_rfu and on rfu.com