Speculation mounts as Anthony Watson's Bath exit revealed
The Telegraph’s Daniel Schofield revealed that British & Irish Lions star is set to let his current contract with Bath expire at the end of the season.
According to the report Watson does not yet have a club lined up, although there will be huge interest in the proven try scorer.
It’s a bitter blow for Bath, who have yet to win a game this season and who are currently welded to the bottom of the Gallagher Premiership. Watson’s exit also comes on the heels of fellow Lion Taulupe Faletau, who is set to move to Cardiff and the URC next month.
Although Watson has had his share of injury issues in the last two seasons, the star will no doubt be a target both domestically and abroad. He has been previously linked with Saracens, Wasps and a with a return to his former club London Irish. The Premiership’s £5 million salary cap and the loss of one marquee player mean that Watson may be facing a pay cut if he stays in English rugby.
The 27-year-old has been a key figure for club and country throughout this time in the West Country, with an impressive 22 tries in his 51 appearances for England. Comfortable at playing both on the wing and at full-back, Watson was one of the stand-out performers for the British and Irish Lions in 2017, as they secured a series draw against New Zealand.
It’s a fresh hammer blow for Bath, who are enduring a season from hell.
Stuart Hooper’s beleaguered side announced a number of changes in senior management this month, including attracting Johann Van Graan from Munster as head coach for next season.
Bath appointed Edward Griffiths as their new chairman following the decision of owner Bruce Craig to step down from the post. Former Saracens chief executive Griffiths, who recently completed a review into the club’s dismal start to the season, begins the role on January 1.
The lack of relegation in this season’s Gallagher Premiership means the jeopardy for the club is limited, although their abysmal form is the talk of the league and the cause of some distress to their fans.
additional reporting PA
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