|Weight||98kg (15st 6lb)|
Pace and athleticism are the shining assets of Anthony Watson, a newcomer to England’s squad for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship. He joined Bath Rugby this season from London Irish and by late January had made 11 Aviva Premiership appearances for the club before marking his England Saxons debut with a long-range interception try against Ireland Wolfhounds at Gloucester.
Last year, he helped England to win both the U20 Six Nations title and the IRB Junior World Championship, making six starts overall – four on the wing and two at full back – to add to the five games he played for the side in 2012.
He had the unusual distinction in the space of three weeks in February 2012 of sandwiching a try for England U18 against France at Fylde between one off the bench for England U20 against Scotland and two against Wales at Twickenham Stoop. England won all three matches. Anthony went on to play in every Six Nations game that year and scored four tries, including one when his side clinched the title with a 20-9 win over Ireland at Adams Park in March.
His next try, from an interception, helped England U20 to beat New Zealand 33-21 in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship semi-final along the way to their ultimate triumph over Wales in the final.
Looking back, a maiden try from the left wing in the 29-12 win over Ireland at Donnybrook in December 2010 gave Anthony and England U18 a flying start to that season. He had already played at full back against the Namibia Invitation XV and off the bench against South Africa the previous summer and added to his appearances in the 64-0 win over Italy at Heywood Road, Sale in February 2011.
Blistering speed brought his second try against Wales in the FIRA/AER Championship semi-final in Auch two months later and he was shortlisted for the 2011 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.
Ashford-born Anthony was an early starter in the game at Effingham RFC when five and from there he advanced into the England U16 and U18 sides as well as becoming vice-captain at his school, St George’s College in Weybridge, where he studied chemistry, economics and PE. Anthony was also in St George’s Junior School U8 team that won the national title.
He made his Aviva A League debut for London Irish against Bath in October 2010, having previously been a member of Wimbledon Football Academy and had trials for Chelsea. Rugby is still his family’s game. Brother Marcus is a former member of the England U20 squad and father Duncan spent half a season with Saracens before a knee injury intervened.
His mentors were Mark Crean, his school coach, Neal Hatley and Justin Bishop at London Irish and John Fletcher, the England U18 head coach, while Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Jonny Wilkinson and Israel Dagg are his most admired players.
“My most unforgettable match was playing for England U16 when we beat Italy with the last kick of the match at the Stadio Flaminio,” he said. “Before converting to full back, I played at centre for two years and my ultimate ambition is to represent England at senior level and the British & Irish Lions.” Anthony made his Premiership debut in September 2011 against Newcastle Falcons and made eight appearances in the competition for London Irish.
In December 2011, he earned the accolade of playing for the Northern Hemisphere XV against the Southern Hemisphere in the Heroes Rugby Challenge game at Twickenham.
Last updated: January 27, 2014