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Woodward's Watson advice for England


Woodward's advice to England after Watson's long-awaited Test return

After Anthony Watson made his first England appearance since March 2018 on Sunday against Wales, World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward has said that he needs to be starting. 

This comes after calls on social media for the Bath player to play at full-back for England, with Elliot Daly reverting back to the wing. Watson started on the wing in Sunday’s win, looking assured under the high ball and strong in defence. 

Although the 25-year-old primarily plays on the wing for Bath, he was the incumbent full-back for England when he sustained an achilles injury in the final game of the 2018 Six Nations that has since required two surgeries and kept him out for over a year. 

In the meantime, Daly filled in at full-back but is perhaps more comfortable on the wing. While he wore the 15 shirt on Sunday, many want to see him swap with Watson.

Woodward seems less concerned with what position either of them play, as long as they are both on the pitch. Both players bring a huge amount to this England team, and Daly has obviously done enough during his time in the 15 shirt to convince Woodward. 

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The new Saracens signing has a kicking game that is perhaps better suited to full-back, while Watson is probably stronger in the air, but what is important to Woodward is that they both start.

With Jonny May surely set to occupy the other wing, this is shaping up to be England’s first choice back three going into the World Cup.

With Jack Nowell and Ruaridh McConnochie also capable of playing at full-back, Eddie Jones has plenty of options. Joe Cokanasiga is the sixth back three player in the squad, which means there is a lot of competition for places. 

Both Watson and Daly were the starting wingers for all three Test matches against the All Blacks in the 2017 British and Irish Lions series and are probably best suited there. 

While England fans want to see Watson wearing the 15 shirt again, Woodward just wants to see both on the pitch after the pair were selected in the 31-strong squad for the World Cup.

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Woodward's advice to England after Watson's long-awaited Test return
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