Scotland back row Hamish Watson has dismissed speculation linking him with a club move to France. The Edinburgh player had been rumoured to be on the move next summer, with Racing 92 among the clubs mentioned, but Watson has dismissed that suggestion.


“One of the boys mentioned it earlier and that is the first I’ve heard of it,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Watson spent his formative years in Leicester’s academy before moving to the Scottish capital where he has become a regular for club and country.

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Hamish Watson looks ahead to the Autumn Nations Cup

He is in the Scotland squad preparing to kick off their Autumn Nations Cup campaign against Italy in Florence on Saturday and looking to extend their winning run against the Azzuri to nine games.

“They are always really good at home and we will have to perform at our best if we want to beat them. They will probably be even better this weekend and they always have a good, tough game against us. We want to keep our winning streak going.”

The 34-cap openside has established a formidable partnership for club and country with Jamie Ritchie and praised his Edinburgh colleague for his recent form. “I’m there with him at training every day and I see how hard he trains and how hard he works.


“It’s not hard for me to believe how well he’s doing. Full credit to him – he’s playing really well at the moment and I enjoy playing with him in the back row. It’s good for Scotland, good for the team,” continued Watson.

The pair have been earmarked as potential British and Irish Lions picks, but Watson insists he is focusing on the immediate future. “A lot of people get spoken about for the Lions and get nowhere near it at all. I just have to keep performing for Scotland and when I go back to my club I’ll have to keep performing there as well.

“I imagine a lot will ride on what happens in the 2021 Six Nations. There is still a lot of rugby to be played and you can play yourself out of contention very quickly. All it takes is a few bad games, so let’s just see what happens.”

That will start on Saturday in Italy where Watson is likely to face Braam Steyn, Jake Polledri and Sebastien Negri. He knows all about their threats. “I play a lot of club stuff against those guys (Negri and Steyn).


“They are big guys, big ball carriers and you can see how well Polledri is playing at the moment. He has been doing that for years now, so we know how good the back row is. We know the back row battle is going to be key and we will be trying to keep those boys at bay as they are all top-quality players.”

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