Hamish Watson relishing increased Edinburgh game-time after frustrating Rugby World Cup
The flanker had his first outing of the season in the hard fought 17-16 home victory over the Emirates Lions on Saturday and produced a typically combative performance which saw him named player of the match. Having beaten the Dragons in Wales the previous weekend it’s two wins from two for Edinburgh but Watson knows they will have to step things up when they face Leinster at the RDS in round three. Edinburgh should be bolstered by a few more returning Scotland players for the match in Dublin as they look to continue their impressive start under new coach Sean Everitt.
“It’s great for me to get back and get some game-time,” said Watson who lost his place in the Scotland starting side to Rory Darge. “I haven’t played much rugby in the last few months so it was really good to be back out there playing. And it’s great to work under Sean. He’s been here for two months now and I think the boys have really bought into his philosophies and we’re really excited about the season.
“I just want to get some continuity, get some games under my belt and get back to playing regularly. It was a frustrating World Cup for me but when you’ve got that strength in depth not everyone’s going to get picked and there are always going to be 10 boys who are disappointed every week and unfortunately for me I was one of them.”
If Watson was a standout for Edinburgh, special mention must also go to Ewan Ashman who scored the winning try on his debut, ten minutes after replacing David Cherry. Quick and nimble for a hooker, Ashman still had plenty to do when he took the ball from Ben Vellacott but he was too elusive for the Lions who were leading 13-10 when the try was scored in the 62nd minute. There was no way back for the South Africans.
“He’s a great player and we’re lucky to have him,” Watson said of his new team-mate. “We’ve got a lot of good signing and we’ve still got players to come back in from injury so if we can get our squad fit and healthy it should bode for an exciting season.”
The game was as close as the scoreline suggests. Edinburgh had taken the lead in the first half through Luke Crosbie’s try but never looked entirely convincing and when the Lions hit back with a converted score from No 8 Francke Horn on the hour mark the home side found themselves behind for the first time. Ashman’s try, converted by Ben Healy who kicked seven points, turned the game back in Edinburgh’s favour. Lions’ Jordan Hendrikse scored his third penalty to make it 17-16 with 12 minutes left but Everitt’s side held on.
“It’s another win but a lot to work on and a big game next week,” added Watson. “They’re games we would have lost last season so that’s definitely a positive but we’re going to have to step it up as well.”
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