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'He's like a nice Pinotage, he has matured well': The making of 50-cap Anthony Watson

By Liam Heagney

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Anthony Watson has been hailed for his dedication to become a better player for England ahead of his 50th appearance for his country this Saturday. The 27-year-old has been selected on the right wing for the keenly anticipated Guinness Six Nations round four game at home to France.

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First capped in 2014 by Stuart Lancaster, Watson has been a regular pick for Eddie Jones but that maturation hasn’t been easy given how frequently injury he has been. Even after starring for the 2017 Lions, starting in all three Test games versus New Zealand, there were further setbacks to negotiate.     

However, Jones now feels that Watson has come of age and is revelling in being in the prime of his career with England. “I have never seen a player work so hard,” enthused Jones ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham showdown with the French.  

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“He had a difficult injury period, went to the World Cup, did exceedingly well for us at the World Cup and then went through another injury period, has come back and is close to his best. His 50th game will be his best game.

“He has matured very nicely. He’s like a nice Pinotage, he has matured well. Probably in the early stage of his career, he didn’t maximise his potential and now he is really working hard to be the best player he can be. 

“That is coming out in the way that he is presenting himself as a player because he has got the confidence that he knows he is well prepared that may be early in his career came a little too easy for him and he took things for granted. Now he is 100 per cent committed to being the best player he can be. 

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Asked to further elaborate on Watson’s maturity, Jones added: “He was driving a Daihatsu for a while and now he is back in the Maserati, so that makes a bit of a difference. He goes a bit faster… and I think having a child has helped him again, having a number of serious injuries have helped him focus on his career and what is important to him, so there have been a number of factors involved.”

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'He's like a nice Pinotage, he has matured well': The making of 50-cap Anthony Watson

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