England wing Watson rules out bulking up to Nadolo levels
Head coach Eddie Jones is looking to increase the size of his backline.
Anthony Watson hopes to end Eddie Jones’ search for a powerhouse wing but has ruled out becoming England’s Nemani Nadolo.
Jones is looking to increase the size of his backline knowing it is among the smallest on the world stage, but has been impressed by the success of Watson and Owen Farrell in adding weight at no cost to performance.
The hunt for a wrecking-ball out wide will not stop but should it prove fruitless, England’s conditioning programme is offering an alternative solution.
“Anthony Watson is playing at 97kgs now. Eighteen months ago he and Owen were 92kgs,” Jones said.
“We’re getting bigger, faster and stronger so the deficit in the backs is becoming less, but it’s always handy to have a Julian Savea type winger and those guys will never go out of fashion.”
Watson demonstrated his speed in two blistering finishes against Italy in round one and is comfortable with the additional muscle packed on to his frame, while noting he can never become feared Fijian giant Nadolo – who weighs in the region of 130kgs.
“I’m more than happy to stay at this weight if Eddie wants me at this weight. It hasn’t affected me in terms of slowing me down,” Watson said.
Good turn out for England’s annual open training session at Twickenham. Anthony Watson’s back but no Joe Launchbury or Owen Farrell pic.twitter.com/p0koJvncfW— Duncan Bech (@DuncanBech) February 16, 2018
“If I can be this heavy but just as fast, it will only benefit me. I don’t want to get too much bigger though – I’m not trying to become a Nadolo winger!
“It’s not been difficult to put the weight on and it wasn’t something I was trying to do. It just kind of happened.”
England return to the launchpad for the Jones era when their NatWest 6 Nations title defence resumes against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Jones has since masterminded a remarkable sequence of 24 wins from 25 Tests, the solitary defeat inflicted by Ireland in last year’s Grand Slam match in Dublin and New Zealand the only major Test scalp left outstanding.
England make one change for Scotland, Nnathan Hughes starting at No8. Joe Marler is on the bench, but no James Haskell— Duncan Bech (@DuncanBech) February 22, 2018
Watson has been present for 15 of those games and having made his debut under Stuart Lancaster in 2014, he has seen the transformation induced by England’s Australian head coach.
“We’ve come a massive way since Murrayfield in 2016 and that’s across all aspects,” Watson said.
“Attitude-wise we’ve gone up a notch, tactically we’ve gone up a notch and physically too.
“All across the board we’ve improved and I’d say we’re a completely different side.
“There’s a belief element in us, so when the going gets tough we come together very well as a unit. We relish those tough moments, we train for those tough moments.”
ICYMI | Gregor Townsend named his team for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash v England. Take a look at your Scotland team right here ⬇ pic.twitter.com/rSX78fkI7a— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 21, 2018
England have not lost at Murrayfield since 2008 and are strong favourites to extend that run against a Scotland team that have endured mixed fortunes in this Six Nations.
“We love playing at Murrayfield. You play rugby to go to those hostile environments and get those wins,” Watson said.
“We’re happy with our two wins in this tournament, but we haven’t yet shown fully what we can do in attack and defence. There’s a lot more to come.”