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Anthony Watson expected to be out 'for quite a while' with broken jaw

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder expects wing Anthony Watson to be sidelined "for quite a while" after surgery to repair a fractured jaw suffered in training with England this week.

Blackadder was speaking after Bath notched their fifth win in six Aviva Premiership matches with a 30-3 victory over Sale at the Recreation Ground.

"Anthony has had surgery on his jaw and is likely to be out for quite a while," he said.

"It's a serious one because he's eating through a straw. I'm so disappointed for him."

Blackadder was unable to confirm whether Watson would be ruled out of the autumn internationals.

The injury adds to a long list of casualties at Bath, who had 10 players unavailable, plus Francois Louw and Leroy Houston on international duty.

But Blackadder has not let that distract him from the job in hand, guiding Bath into second place in the Premiership.

The win over Sale was founded on a huge defensive effort, allied to sharp finishing.

Matt Banahan, Kahn Fotulali'i and replacement prop Kane Palma-Newport crossed for tries while George Ford contributed 15 points with the boot.

He said: "I'm so pleased to finish this block of Premiership matches with five wins out of six. I'll take that any day.

"The boys put in a massive effort tonight. Defensively, once again, it was just so courageous, wasn't it?

"We just worked ourselves into the ground and through our defence we took those opportunities to score some points. That was outstanding.

"I didn't have a lot of expectations at the beginning. We've just taken it one week at a time. Even with that performance out there, we still have a lot of work-ons.

"We just get better every week, but there's a long way to go. I'm really encouraged by what I am seeing."

England centre Jonathan Joseph made an impressive return after missing two games with a leg injury.

And teenager Zach Mercer again caught the eye at No 8 in the absence of Toby Faletau and Houston.

Blackadder said: "I have to catch myself and remember he's just a young lad of 19, stretching his legs for the third time this year.

"Isn't it good to see a young man just go out there and play?

"He's got such upside in him. He's got a great future ahead of him."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond declined to give interviews afterwards but a club spokesman said he had highlighted the award of a penalty against Halani Aulika as the turning point. Play was brought back to Sale's 22 and Ford's penalty opened up Bath's lead to 16-3.


From Belfast Telegraph