Scotland tearaway ‘massively motivated’ by World Cup misery

Hamish Watson Scotland training Six Nations 2023 ahead of the 2023 rugby world cup - Alamy.jpg Credit: Alamy

Hamish Watson Scotland training Six Nations 2023 ahead of the 2023 rugby world cup – Alamy.jpg Credit: Alamy

Scotland back-row Hamish Watson is set on overcoming his Rugby World Cup misery but is aware that other players are also hopeful of being named in their country’s squad for the tournament.

Despite being part of a summer training camp ahead of the 2015 World Cup in England, the 31-year-old was axed from the squad before the tournament started.

Brief participation at 2019 World Cup

The openside flanker was part of Scotland’s 31-man squad at the 2019 World Cup in Japan but his participation in that event was cut short due to a knee injury sustained in the first half of their tournament opener against Ireland.

He is on course to make Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend’s 33-man World Cup squad for this year’s global showpiece in France but is taking nothing for granted as he faces stiff competition from the likes of fellow tearaway Rory Darge, who led the Scots to victory in their first warm-up game against Italy.

Watson was not involved in his country’s 25-13 triumph at Murrayfield on Saturday but is keen to be involved in his country’s World Cup campaign kicks off against defending champions South Africa in Marseille on September 10.

“I got injured in the first game of the World Cup last time, so I don’t think it was the best showing of myself, which is slightly frustrating,” he said. “But I don’t think you need any extra motivation.

“It would be great to get another World Cup cap, but there is a lot of work to be done before then.

“I have only played one game in a World Cup, so I am obviously massively motivated to try and get to another and hopefully play a few games in it.

“But then, so is everyone else. Some people are going for their first World Cup, some are going for their third, so everyone is just as motivated.

“And it’s pretty tight for spots as well. When you go into these games before a World Cup, you know you might only get one game to show what you can do.

“Obviously, the coaches know all the players pretty well anyway, we have good continuity within the squad, but you might only get one game, so we know we have to be at our best collectively and individually.

“That is a bit of added pressure, but that’s the way it is.”

After missing Saturday’s clash against the Azzurri, Watson is set to play when Scotland take on World Cup hosts France at Murrayfield this weekend.

“There is never really a friendly in rugby,” the 2021 British and Irish Lions tourist said. “There might be a few mistakes, a lot of new players coming into the squad, but France are one of the best teams in the world, and we are ranked number five, so it’s going to be a tough game.

Huge encounter for both teams

“As players, we prepare like it’s a Six Nations game. It’s a massive game.

“Normally, you would have a summer Test and then time off, and even when you play your first club game, it’s always tough to get back into it.

“But France will be in the same boat as well. We are quite lucky; our squad have had one game under their belt.”

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