Anthony Watson returns to action for Bath Rugby tomorrow afternoon, as they make the trip to The Stoop to face Harlequins in the Heineken Champions Cup (kick-off 17:30).
It will be the first time Watson has pulled on the Blue, Black and White since helping England to the Rugby World Cup Final. The full-back was one of Eddie Jones’ stand-out performers in Japan, which came shortly after returning from a year-long Achilles injury.
Watson admits that the experience of losing to South Africa in the final will only act as motivation to perform for Bath.
“It (the Rugby World Cup Final) was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow – you work so hard for five or six months to get the opportunity to make that all worthwhile and slip up in the final hurdle. It’s a tough one to take, but I’ve got to use it as motivation and bring back some energy back here and hopefully do something special.
“I don’t think you can mope about for too long worrying about what you could have done. It’s going to hurt, but I’ve got to use it as fuel to the fire.”
The 25 year-old’s form at the tail end of last season was enough to earn him an international call-up, but is now concentrating on delivering in Club colours this season.
“I only played three games for Bath last year and they were awesome with me throughout the whole injury, so I want to repay some of that faith they put in me. It’s about performing this weekend and picking up a win. I’m massively excited – I spend so much time with these boys and so much hard work goes into the training weeks, so we just want to make it worthwhile on the weekend.”
Bath go into this weekend off the back of a narrow 16-17 defeat against Ulster and is full of confidence that the team can get a result tomorrow afternoon.
“Obviously we were not happy to lose our first game, but we can’t dwell on that. These games come around thick and fast, so we’ll be looking to bounce back and get a win at The Stoop this weekend. The team are buzzing for it and there is no reason why we can’t go out there and pick up a win.”
After a summer away with England, Watson re-joined the squad under a new setup and believes that the changes have only had a positive impact on the group.
“It’s been class – with Charts (Luke Charteris) transitioning from a player to a coach, it’s been pretty seamless. Hats (Neal Hatley) is a world-class coach and he’s had a massive influence on my career. I owe him a lot for everything that he has done for me, so working closely with him is something I’m massively excited about. We all know about Hoops and his leadership abilities and Girvs (Girvan Dempsey), who quietly goes behind the scenes – he’s an unbelievable coach and his attention to detail is second to none. Across the board, I’m buzzing.”