Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World

Hamish Watson 'too light for the Springboks' theory by Stephen Jones obliterated by Scottish fans and pundits like

By Online Editors
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Trending on RugbyPass

More News More News

Fans have taken to Twitter to obliterate a theory from controversial British writer Stephen Jones that Scotland flanker Hamish Watson is “too light” to face the Springboks in this year’s British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.


Watson was in career-defining form in the Six Nations, earning a nomination for the Player of the Tournament for the first time over contemporaries such as Tom Curry, Justin Tuperic, and Josh van der Flier.

The 29-year-old beat out Antoine Dupont, Tadhg Beirne, Louis Rees-Zammit, Taulupe Faletau and Robbie Henshaw to win the award, becoming just the second ever Scot to do so after current captain Stuart Hogg, who has won twice.

Video Spacer

The All Blacks on what they eat before a test match | Healthspan Elite
Video Spacer
The All Blacks on what they eat before a test match | Healthspan Elite

The rugged play of Watson helped Scotland to three wins, including key away victories over England and France for the first time in Six Nations history, from five matches.

His form has rightly put the 41-test international into the debate over British and Irish Lions selection for the upcoming tour of South Africa to face the world champion Springboks, but UK writer Stephen Jones has put Watson in the ‘too light’ category.

Jones wrote in The Times that Watson “may be the best in the Six Nations, but he should not be on the Lions tour” in a column titled ‘Lightweight Hamish Watson is no match for the Springboks‘.

He feared that the Scot would offer a physical mismatch advantage to the Springboks in both height and weight as Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph Du Toit would tower over him.


“Watson, at 6 foot 1 and 16 stone, could be giving away as much as eight inches and four stone to opponents,” he wrote as he also rubbed out Welsh pair Josh Navidi and Tipuric under the same criteria.

Jones’ own criteria would also rule out England flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, who are exactly the same height as Watson.

Standing at 1.85m, Watson is listed at 102kg, which is a similar weight to other world-class flankers such as former Lions captain Sam Warburton, All Blacks star Ardie Savea and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.

Hoards of Twitter users piled in to debunk Jones’ theory, with one highlighting the last time the Springboks lost a test, in the 2019 World Cup against the All Blacks, the Kiwi’s flankers were Sam Cane, listed at 103kg, and Ardie Savea, listed at 99kg.


Watson last played the Springboks in 2018 as Scotland fell short 20-26 at Murrayfield during South Africa’s end of year tour. Both sides scored two tries apiece as penalties proved to be the difference.

The Scottish flanker scored one of his team’s tries from a set-piece special to cap off an overall solid performance against South Africa’s first choice back row of Kolisi, Du Toit and Duane Vermeulen.

Watson completed 11 tackles from 11 attempts and carried eight times for 18 metres, making one clean break.

Aiding Watson’s chances of Lions selection is the pending appointment of Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend as one of Warren Gatland’s assistants for the tour.

According to The Times, English trio Andy Farrell, Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree have all pulled out of touring with the Lions, paving the way for Townsend to join Gatland’s coaching staff.

Gatland is reportedly set to confirm those changes this Tuesday.


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING 'Disappointing' Baxter comments haven't landed well in Worcester 'Disappointing' Baxter comments haven't landed well in Worcester