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Wasps respond to rumour they are favourites to sign Anthony Watson

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Lee Blackett has addressed speculation that Wasps are reportedly favourites to sign Anthony Watson, the currently injured Lions and England winger who has apparently made up his mind that he wants to leave the struggling Bath at the end of this season. The soon-to-be 28-year-old suffered a serious ACL injury in October versus Saracens in just his second appearance of the campaign. 

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Since then he was handed a one-week suspended ban for a social media message that he posted while icing his knee at home about the October 30 Gallagher Premiership defeat for Bath against Wasps, criticising the red card brandished to teammate Mike Williams for a tackle on Jimmy Gopperth. 

The punishment handed down by an independent RFU disciplinary committee included Watson having to prepare and deliver a presentation to the senior squad, the academy squad and the rugby department at Bath by January 14.

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In the meantime, away from that tweet-gate saga, there has been plenty of speculation about the club future of Watson with reports emerging that the player, who signed Bath from London Irish in 2013, is seeking a fresh start elsewhere in the Premiership.

Having earned 51 caps for England and another five with the Lions, the services of Watson would command a well-remunerated salary and with Premiership clubs now operating in a climate of the reduced salary cap, it has been claimed that the budgets of the likes of Leicester, Saracens and Exeter wouldn’t be able to accommodate Watson. 

That resulted in it being claimed earlier this week that Watson was now likely to be signed by Wasps, the club where his older brother Marcus plays. It was reported that Wasps had been in touch with Watson’s representatives and the hope was that a contract offer would be made at the end of this week. 

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This allegation, though, was news to Wasps boss Blackett who dismissed the rumour when questioned about Watson on Thursday at his media briefing before this Sunday’s match versus Leicester. I have not spoken to Anthony Watson,” replied Blackett when quizzed about the speculation that Wasps were poised to sign the England international. 

Has he spoken to anyone at the club? “If he was coming to the club he would have spoken to me,” added Blackett, who then muddied the waters with a mischievous follow-up quip. “It doesn’t mean we won’t, does it?”

Following that remark, it was suggested that Marcus Watson could act as the go-between. “Well, there you go, Marcus has spoken to him,” quipped Blackett with a smile to end the discussion about the coveted Bath player.  

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