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Leicester explain why Anthony Watson has yet to play Prem for them

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Leicester boss Steve Borthwick has explained why Tigers fans are still waiting to see new signing Anthony Watson in Gallagher Premiership action this season. The England and Lions back three player missed the opening matches versus Exeter and Newcastle following his summer signing from Bath and he will again be absent for Saturday’s round three derby match at Northampton.

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It was October last year when Watson, who had toured South Africa with the 2021 Lions, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament when playing for Bath against Saracens at The Rec. That injury was his last appearance for the club as he never made it back to fitness before the end of the 2021/22 season and it was only in August when he finally played again after a ten-month absence.

Watson made his Leicester debut in the August 19 friendly win at Jersey and was involved again in the following weekend’s home pre-season win over Newcastle, but he suffered an injury setback and has been unavailable for the new Premiership campaign.

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“In one of our pre-season games, Anthony picked up a little strain, nothing major,” explained Borthwick. “Anthony is an incredible player and he has been terrific around this squad, has been brilliant all pre-season and what we want to do is ensure when he steps on that field he is absolutely 100 per cent and ready to go – not just ready to go for one game but ready to go for the rest of the season.

“I want all my players playing well all season and for many seasons. That is what I am trying to balance the whole time. Anthony is going well, heading in the right direction and progressing well.”

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It was the week of that Newcastle friendly when the 28-year-old reported how well he had settled in at Leicester, telling the club’s in-house TV: “My favourite thing about the club so far has probably been the intensity from the start. It’s very clear in terms of what is expected of you and the intensity is right up there. I have loved that.

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“I was lucky enough to work with Steve with England so I kind of knew-ish what to expect. He is very clear in what he expects from people and he is straight talking which is class as are his ideas as a director of rugby.”

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