Watson: France game is massive for us
Hamish Watson returns to the Scotland back row this Saturday, after being named in the starting team to play France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.
Watson starts at openside flanker this weekend and with the squad being cut to 33 players over the next couple of weeks, the 31-year-old knows he’ll need to impress in his first outing of the summer.
He said: “There’s never really a friendly or warm-up game in rugby. France are one of the best teams in the world, we’re ranked number five, so it’s going to be a really tough game.
“I don’t think there’s any sort of warm-up element to it – it’s going to be a pretty tough physical game. The players prepare as if it’s a Six Nations game: it’s a massive game for us.
“I think it’s all about trying to play as best as you can in these first few games so you can build momentum going into the World Cup. In the World Cup we know it’s a tough pool, but on our day we believe we can beat anyone. We know it’s going to be hard, but you’ve got to beat them all, I guess, if you want to get far.
“Whenever you go into these games before a World Cup you know you might only get one shot or one game to show what you can do.
“Obviously the coaches know all the players pretty well anyway – it’s not a very new squad, which is good – there’s continuity within the squad. We know we’re going to have to be at our best collectively, but also individually you’re going to have to put your best foot forward, which is a bit of added pressure as well. But that’s the way it is.”
Watson says he relishes the competition within the squad as it helps push all the players on and says he’s ready to show what he can do from the start this weekend.
He added: “I thought my form was coming good at the end of the Edinburgh season so it’s about trying to pick up where I left off. I know it’s sometimes a bit easier said than done and I think that’s what everyone is going to try and do.
“Any competition that comes in, whether they’re older or younger or just had a really good season with their club, it drives the other players in the group.
“We’re all competitive people, that’s why we are what we are in our sport. We’ve always had to compete for stuff and that’s the way you want it. You never want to rest on your laurels.”