ANTHONY WATSON is hoping to use some London Olympic exposure to fire him all the way to his own taste of the home crowd at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Watson, who plays for Aviva Premiership London Irish, was unveiled as one of 30 England youngsters to be part of the BMW Performance Academy this week.
In partnership with the RFU, it will see the 21-year-old masterclasses from the likes of Olympic medal-winning gymnast Louis Smith.
Watson has already shown himself to be on the fast track to future England senior honours having played for both the Under-18 and Under-20 sides last season and having appeared on the Exiles’ Premiership bench three times this term.
Watson terrorised defences in the Under-20s Six Nations last year – finishing the second top try scorer behind fellow Exile Marland Yarde – and, having been handpicked to be part of the BMW Performance Academy, he believes the World Cup in three years’ time is a possibility.
The academy allows the cream of the England youth crop – from Under-16 through to Under-20 and beyond – access to the likes of BMW ambassadors from other sports, such as Smith, as well having their own individual development plan to get them to the top.
Having shared the stage with England head coach Stuart Lancaster at the scheme’s launch, Watson, from Hillingdon, insists he is more determined than ever to force his way into his plans in the coming years.
“The advice I can get from the ambassadors BMW have is going to be amazing and is definitely going to benefit me as a player and as a person,” said Watson, who was speaking at the BMW Academy launch in Reading.
“Being recognised as an individual as part of this academy and with Stuart Lancaster here at the launch is a massive motivation for me going forward.
“I think a lot of the older players who are on this programme will be looking to try to get to the World Cup in 2015. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t something I am thinking about because it would be such a great opportunity for me to play at the World Cup.”
While Watson’s long-term goals are lofty ones, the Exiles wing maintains his short-term approach is something more simple.
After picking up an injury in Monday’s A League game against Harlequins, Watson insists regaining fitness and challenging for an Irish first-team birth is the priority.
“I don’t think the injury is that bad, so hopefully I will be back soon and can be in and around the first-team again,” he added. “I just want to keep my head down really and keep working hard as possible.”
BMW Group UK is the Official Vehicle Partner for the RFU and England Rugby. As a key element, BMW Group UK is Official Partner of England’s elite age grade development programme and front-of-shirt sponsors of the England Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 squads.