Sport Rugby

Saturday 23 September 2017

Dardis can follow Watson's lead to grace big stage

Billy Dardis
Billy Dardis
Tony Ward

Tony Ward

IT might have escaped attention on this little island, but the decision of Stuart Lancaster to call Bath's former London Irish youngster Anthony Watson into the senior England squad for Saturday's Test against Argentina is worth a mention.

I saw the talented Watson play at full-back for St George's College throughout his days at the Weybridge school and it can't be denied that the 19-year-old flier is a hugely exciting prospect.

Watson will be exposed to the England training methods at Pennyhill Park in much the same way as Wasps lock Joe Launchbury was before him.

Despite the vast reservoir of talent available to the England head coach, Lancaster is going with his instinct on this one.

Given that Joe Schmidt's son Tim has lined out on the same Terenure and Leinster Schools teams as the extremely talented Irish underage full-back Billy Dardis, it's not unreasonable to suggest the same route be left open to the Kildare youngster in this country as Watson has taken across the water.

Schmidt knows Dardis' capabilities well and, as it happens, there is a precedent in the same position and same age bracket from the Warren Gatland days back in '98. The name? D'Arcy ... Gordon D'Arcy.

Irish Independent

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