Anthony Watson backs Andy Farrell for success with Ireland

Bath take on Leinster today.

Anthony Watson Bath player
Flyer Anthony Watson will renew the rivalry with many Irish players this evening. Image Photo Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

For someone so young, he is very methodical in his answers. Much like his play on the pitch, 21-year-old Bath full-back Anthony Watson is precise and level headed.

When pushed on the subject of former coach, Andy Farrell, moving to coach rivals Ireland, who have a few players that Watson will face later today when Bath take on Leinster, he generously pays credit to Farrell who helped Watson develop into one of the brightest hopes in English rugby.

Farrell left the England set up post World Cup, when new boss Eddie Jones decided to dispense of his services alongside Graham Rowntree, after which he made the surprising switch to join Joe Schmidt’s team in Dublin.

“I worked with Andy for the last two, three years and he has brought my game on to be honest with you. He highlighted the importance of stuff I didn’t really understand before so I think he is going to bring a lot to both Ireland and Munster. Especially in terms of kick chase and intensity of defence so I’m interested to see what comes of it.”

Andy Farrell with England
Off to the Emerald Isle Andy Farrell will join up with the Ireland coaching staff after the Six Nations. Image Photo David Rogers/Getty Images

When Farrell arrives into the Ireland camp he will see some new names that he’s not used, in particular Leinster flyer Garry Ringrose, who Watson will collide with today in Dublin.

“The names you are used to seeing in Leinster stars are etched in folklore for Leinster so you are always weary of those guys but you got to do your analysis, you can never underestimate them,” he admits.

“I saw Brian O’Driscoll talking about their young centre, Ringrose, and I’ve seen him a couple of times and he seems like a quality young player.

Watson is equally humble in his thoughts and praise when he approaches the idea of an easy game in Dublin today against Leinster Rugby.

“We haven’t had the best of seasons ourselves but we will draw a lot of confidence from last weekends game. But we know Leinster is going to be a tough challenge. Especially away in their home ground, so it’s going to be important we earn our money in the basics, in tackling and defence,” he concludes.

To be fair it could be easy for Watson and his Bath team mates to get complacent, Leinster have been poor this season as the two time European Champions limped out of the competition after two bonus points from four games but he’s having none of it.

The full back impressed away to Toulon last weekend but his team could only come away with a losing bonus point, losing 12-9 to the French giants. This leaves Bath’s chances of progressing to the next stage of the Champions Cup by a thread. Irish giants Leinster beat the exciting Bath team last year in the quarter final in Dublin, so coach Mike Ford will have reminded his charges of the challenge that lies before them. 

Bath take on Leinster live on Sky Sports 3 from 5:30pm

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Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran

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