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Watson – ‘It’s not about me’


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Springbok debutant Luke Watson plans to ignore all the hype surrounding his much talked about Test debut when he takes to the field against Samoa this Saturday.

Watson’s soap opera-like rise to the Springbok ranks this season has gripped the imagination of the entire country, with rugby experts, past players, administrators, politicians and even house-wives having their say about whether or not he should play for the Boks.

After an up and down Super 14 campaign, the Stormers captain – last year’s Super 14 Player of the Year – was included in Jake White’s Bok training squad, not because the coach wanted him there, but at the insistence of SARU President Oregan Hoskins, who later embarrassed himself trying to explain his deed in a much-publicised radio interview with well-known host John Robbie.

Twenty-three-year-old Watson, however, was having none of it this week as he contemplated what he hoped would be “an enjoyable” Test debut at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park.

“My character allows me to put all these side-shows aside and focus on the job at hand,” said Watson to shortly after being named as one of two debutants in the Bok line-up for Saturday.

“I do realise that there is support in my corner and that some people would like to see me succeed and represent my country, which is encouraging and also inspiring.

“At the same time, however, it also means that’s not just about me, but also about the section of people that I am representing.”

Rate him or not (or in some cases, like him or not), the energetic openside flanker has his big chance and Saturday remains his only concern at this stage.

“I’m not even looking past Saturday,” stressed Watson, “I’m just taking it one game at a time; starting with Saturday. I need to concentrate on performing first… only then can I look to the next match.”

Watson – one of 13 fresh faces in the SA starting line-up after last week’s 55-22 drubbing of England – is the only current Western Province or Stormers player in the Springbok 22 – a side which also happens to boast the most inexperienced backline since the second Test against Argentina in 1994, which was also played at Ellis Park.


365 Digital

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