England U20s and former U18s star Anthony Watson has been called up to train with the senior England side this week.
The former St Georgeâ€™s College, Weybridge pupil moved from London Irish to Bath this summer and has since started six times for Bath in the Aviva Premiership and has received extensive praise for his performances.
Still just 19 years old, the young flyer featured heavily for England in their JWC win last season, scoring against New Zealand in the semi final. He featured on the wing in that tournament but has been playing at full back for Bath, such are his all round skills.
Mark Crean, the Head of Rugby at his old school, St Georgeâ€™s, Weybridge, spoke of the pride that the school felt following Watsonâ€™s latest achievement:
“It is an amazing achievement for Anthony to be selected for the full England Squad this week considering he was still playing for school two years ago. Everyone at the College is very proud of all of his achievements so far and itâ€™ll be very interesting to see how things go over the two seasons.”Â â€¨Â Â Â Â
Englandâ€™s Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster, explained that Watsonâ€™s call up was a continuation of his policy of trying to integrate players from the England age grade sides into the senior camp, whilst also praising Watsonâ€™s form:
â€œWe are bringing Anthony Watson into camp because we want to take a look at him in the same way that we have done in the past with others outside the Senior or Saxons squads such as Joe Launchbury.â€
â€œAnthony is a member of the Under 20 squad and is playing well for Bath so this is a good opportunity to give him a taste of this environment.â€
Watsonâ€™s call up is the perfect example to all current school players of just how close school 1st XV rugby can actually be to the absolute pinnacle of the game.
Just two years ago the Bath player was just a top school 1st XV player, like so many that we see each week, now he is training with the England team.
It should serve as the perfect inspiration to those who are now in their school 1st XVâ€™s and hoping to be able to make a career in the game; with dedication like that of Watson and by taking your opportunities when they come, the distance from school to England can become much smaller than it first appears.
Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling look as though they might be ready to return to training, they are both retained in the camp this week, while last weekâ€™s injury cover call ups, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas, also stay with the camp.
In the backs it is as you were, bar the addition of Watson, and with Chris Ashton again failing to truly impress, what a story it would be if Watson were to find himself on the hallowed Twickenham turf on Saturday, unlikely as that might be.
Forwards: David Attwood (Bath Rugby) â€¨Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) â€¨Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints) â€¨Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs) â€¨Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) â€¨Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) â€¨Joe Launchbury (London Wasps) â€¨Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) â€¨Joe Marler (Harlequins) â€¨Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) â€¨Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers) â€¨Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) â€¨Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) â€¨Billy Vunipola (Saracens) â€¨Mako Vunipola (Saracens) â€¨Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) â€¨David Wilson (Bath Rugby) â€¨Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) â€¨Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Backs: Chris Ashton (Saracens) â€¨Mike Brown (Harlequins) â€¨Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby) â€¨Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints) â€¨Danny Care (Harlequins) â€¨Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) â€¨Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby) â€¨Owen Farrell (Saracens) â€¨Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers) â€¨Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) â€¨Alex Goode (Saracens) â€¨Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby) â€¨Joel Tomkins (Saracens) â€¨Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby) â€¨Christian Wade (London Wasps) â€¨Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) â€¨Marland Yarde (London Irish) â€¨Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).