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Edinburgh fans hope Watson's loyalty can be a game-changer after bad few days

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

After seeing two players sign deals with clubs in the Gallagher Premiership this week amid a difficult season in the Guinness PRO14, Edinburgh fans have welcomed the long-term contract extension of Hamish Watson. 

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With the departure of both Duhan van der Merwe and Andrew Davidson announced – the winger is set to join Worcester and the lock signing for Gloucester next season – there were fears that the exodus of players leaving Scotland might extent to the hugely respected flanker. 

There are few players more popular and influential Edinburgh as players than Watson. Never has a player been better suited to the nickname ‘Pinball’ and Watson’s effervescent ball carrying and energy on the pitch have helped him become a fan favourite in the Scottish capital and for the national team. 

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Goodbye 2020!

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Goodbye 2020!

He is a guaranteed starter for both Richard Cockerill and Gregor Townsend and has a very real chance of making the British and Irish Lions later this year, so there would have been plenty of interest in him. 

The message this extension deal sends out makes Watson’s re-signing different from others. Aside from Edinburgh’s leaving players, Glasgow Warriors’ Adam Hastings is also Gloucester-bound next season and Watson’s back row partner for club and country, Jamie Ritchie, has also been linked with a move away at the end of his contract this year. 

With Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray also playing for Exeter Chiefs and Finn Russell starring for Racing 92, the list of exiled Scottish stars is growing year by year. There is a case that the Test team may benefit from this, but Glasgow and Edinburgh suffer. 

To many fans, keeping hold of Watson is, therefore, a sign of Edinburgh’s ambition under Cockerill and an indication that their progress over the last two years could continue. 

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Flankly 10 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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