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England wing Anthony Watson in the 'top one per cent'

By Chris Jones
Anthony Watson of Leicester warms up ahead of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bristol Bears and Leicester Tigers at Ashton Gate on December 03, 2022 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Anthony Watson’s latest remarkable return from serious injury has seen Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick rate the England and British and Irish Lions wing in the “top one per cent” of players he has been involved with.


Given Borthwick made a remarkable 265 Premiership appearances for Bath and Saracens – second only to fellow Tigers coach Richard Wigglesworth – captained England while winning 57 caps and helped coach Japan and England, means he has seen a lot of very good players during his career

Watson was signed from Bath by Borthwick ahead of this season while he was completing his recovery from ACL knee reconstruction and his battle against serious injury includes two Achilles ruptures in the space of 12 months.

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He will be on the wing against Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Champions Cup tomorrow at Mattioli Woods Welford Road having helped the club defeat Ospreys last weekend with a brilliant solo try to remind everyone of his footwork and speed.

Borthwick, who could be making his final appearance at home as Tigers head coach before replacing Eddie Jones as England’s supremo, said: “Anthony is ultra, ultra-professional and the amount of time he spends in addition to team training to prepare and recover is phenomenal and he is up there in the top one per cent I have ever seen.

“He works very closely with Aled Walters (head of physical performance) and our medical team and has a programme outside the team training and also does all the team training. He has shown a robustness and resilience to add to that ultra professionalism.”

Watson has joined an outstanding group of young players that Borthwick believes will ensure a successful future – no matter who is in charge at Tigers. He added: “Ultimately, I’ve have to build a new team since I came in here two years ago and sign players from around the world. But at the same point in time, underneath coming through has been this core group: James Whitcombe, Joe Heyes, George Martin, Ollie Chessum, Lewis Chessum, Tommy Reffell, Jack van Poortvliet, Dan Kelly, Guy Porter, Freddie Steward and Harry Potter – I may have missed some. I see a group that is very, very tight.”



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