Anthony Watson sends Scotland warning ahead of Calcutta Cup comeback
Anthony Watson has warned Scotland ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown that he returns to England's ranks a faster and more skilful player.
Watson is poised to make his comeback from a strained hamstring in the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham, overcoming the latest injury in a series of ailments that has placed his international career on hold since the 2016 tour to Australia.
Rather than waste the long hours of rehabilitation, Watson has been honing his athletic prowess with England's strength and conditioning guru Dean Benton and sharpening his visual awareness with the aid of visual awareness coach Dr Sherylle Calder.
"The time out has been a little bit frustrating because this was the second or third injury I'd had this year and that wasn't part of the plan," the Bath wing said.
"But in a similar way to when I had the jaw injury, I've tried to take benefits from it. Being in camp here has allowed me to work on stuff that I wouldn't normally have been able to do so much of.
"Dean and the S and C staff have been outstanding with me. I've been doing a lot of speed work and speed mechanic stuff.
"And that feels like it's translating, so it's not been all doom and gloom. I feel better as a result of it.
"In some ways I feel faster. It's important to learn about yourself and how you run.
"I feel like I understand my body again better in terms of what I need to do to improve, how can I be more efficient with my running and what do I start doing when I'm tired.
"If I can translate that on to the pitch as much as possible, then I'll definitely reap the benefits.
"A lot of the speed mechanics was to do with how high my hips were going, what my foot strike was like - was it too much heel or too mid foot.
"I watched lots of slow motion footage to compare my running style to that of sprinters. When you put the two against each other it was plain to see a few areas where I could go to improve.
"The work I've done gives me confidence from a speed point of view. I've done some agility stuff too.
"Another part of the rehab process was time spent doing skills with (England skills coach) Rory Teague, who has been outstanding with me. I've done hand eye, passing stuff, eyeball stuff."
Watson, who is set to be included in the matchday 23 for Scotland's visit to Twickenham, admits the challenge now facing him is to reproduce what he has learned on the pitch.
"It is definitely difficult, but once you have drilled it a few times in training and you have been really conscious about how you are running, then it gets a little bit easier," he said.
"You want to do it enough times to the point where it becomes a habit. That is the key - to maximise your efficiency but to be able to do it all the time."
Watson knows that after months of inactivity during his injury-blighted season, he must guard against over exuberance in the Triple Crown decider.
"There's definitely an issue with trying too hard and I'll make sure that I get the right blend of being able to work hard and being composed at the same time," he said.