Pursuit of Olympic dream takes Watson to Moscow

Thursday 2 June 2016

Newcastle Falcons' Marcus Watson continues to chase a spot in Team GB for the upcoming Rio Olympics, having been named in the GB Lions' squad for this weekend's Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series event in Moscow.

The flying winger ended the season in scorching form for Newcastle and recently made his England 7s comeback at Twickenham.

Watson is part of the wider Team GB training squad which is entering two teams in Moscow - GB Royals and GB Lions.

The Newcastle man forms part of the latter, Team GB Sevens head coach Simon Amor saying: “It’s been a very exciting first few days, the talent is exceptional and the way the guys have trained in the sessions shows real intent. They are bringing out the best in each other. We’ve put a big focus on the importance of an extraordinary GB spirit. The players have really embraced that and everyone knows we are on a unique and special journey together over the next seven weeks."

“There was a clear criteria for the two squads. Firstly, it was about the GB feel and making sure there was a good combination of the home nations in each team. Secondly, we wanted to look at certain combinations and specific positions.

“Heading into this first tournament we also have some guys on limited game time as they return from injury. We need to manage players through this event as a three-week intense training block follows and we want them fresh for what will be a very competitive phase in our preparations.”

Watson's GB Lions play Portugal (8.22am BST), France (11am) and Poland (2.22pm) on Saturday, with a live stream available via www.rugbyeurope.tv .

Exeter (9-10 July) and Gdynia (16-17 July) are also part of the Grand Prix Series, and for this season the GB Lions and GB Royals have taken the places of Wales and England. As a result Rugby Europe has stipulated that players cannot interchange between the two teams for the three competitions.

“The players named in the Royal and Lions must now remain in those sides for the three tournaments, which is a challenge for us” said Amor.

“We have the advantage of Sevens and the City to mix the groups up but from what I've seen of training in the last few days it is evident that this will be a very competitive environment to test different combinations.

“As a programme we have overcome a lot of challenges in the last nine months by adapting well and with integrity.

"The ability to handle these situations will be a big positive for us come Rio. With sevens being in the Olympics for the first time there is much unknown for all the competing squads. It will be different to what everyone on the circuit is used to and these experiences will stand us in good stead for that.”

GB Lions

Mark Bennett Dan Bibby Phil Burgess Sam Cross James Davies Richard de Carpentier Lee Jones Gavin Lowe Tom Mitchell (c) Dan Norton Mark Robertson Marcus Watson

GB Royals

Cory Allen Tom Bowen Alex Davis Jamie Farndale Alex Gray Warwick Lahmert Ollie Lindsay-Hague Ruaridh McConnochie Luke Morgan Scott Riddell Joe Simpson Luke Treharne (c)

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