- Wing delighted with debut try
- “As a collective, we played really well” – Watson
Anthony Watson was one of six try-scorers as England overturned the Crusaders 38-7 at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Tuesday evening and the Bath Rugby youngster said the victory will have boosted morale across the entire touring party.
Wing Watson underlined a sparky first senior start at international level by skating under the posts from 40 metres after linking up with Worcester Warriors full back Chris Pennell in midfield.
It was yet another example of the 20 year-old’s pace, predatory instinct and ability to beat defenders, but the youngster preferred to dwell on the bigger picture – a win that defied a dogged Crusaders effort for England’s maiden success on this trip.
Ahead of the third Test against the All Blacks in Hamilton this Saturday, Watson suggested the midweek success could prove significant.
“I thought it was a great team performance,” he explained. “We put a lot of pressure on the Crusaders in the first half with our kicking game.
“Credit to them – they came out and did exactly the same thing to us in the second half and we couldn’t really get out of our half.
“As a collective, we played really well and individually a lot of boys put their hand up and can be very happy with how they went.
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“We spoke all week about building momentum up until this third Test and giving the boys something to buzz about. I think the boys can push on from here on Saturday.
“Us getting the victory has probably put a bit of energy into the team and boosted morale heading into the weekend.”
Modestly passing off his score – England’s fifth and most spectacular – as a case of finishing an opportunity manufactured by some cute passing on the gainline from Stephen Myler and Pennell, Watson glanced at his year as a whole.
Earmarked as an excellent prospect long before his role in England Under 20’s Junior World Championship win last summer, he was brought into Stuart Lancaster’s set-up to train alongside the seniors back in October.
Watson seemed well at home among the more established names such as Alex Goode, Ben Foden and James Haskell, and admitted that he has profited from the environment – even if there was some apprehension at the start.
“I can’t thank the players and coaches in the set-up enough. I feel I’ve come on leaps and bounds.
“Back in autumn I was nervous to go down to breakfast but now I feel really comfortable – the boys have been really welcoming.”