Marcus Watson insists he is back to his best following an injury-hit start to the season, as his Newcastle Falcons side prepares for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Wasps.
The flying winger spent much of the summer in the abbreviated code as part of the Great Britain 7s squad which won silver at the Olympics in Brazil, although an Achilles injury picked up during the tournament meant he missed Newcastle’s first six league games.
Using the European Challenge Cup to launch his return to action, Watson scored one of the Falcons’ eight tries in last Sunday’s 50-7 home win over Grenoble and is now ready to transfer that momentum into the Premiership.
He said: “I feel really sharp, and in hindsight it might turn out to be a blessing that I have had a little time off. That’s obviously not what I was thinking at the time when I was out injured, but I have had a bit of a break after a busy summer and it might have been good for my legs.
“It has been pretty frustrating. I obviously wanted to come straight back in and get stuck in, but I was sat on the sidelines watching the lads put in some good performances. I have been chomping at the bit to get back in, and it is great now to be fully fit.”
Making his comeback in a heavy loss at Ospreys before forming part of a much-improved showing last weekend, Watson added: “It was a tough game against the Osprey. Everyone knows they put out a virtual full international XV, but for the first 20 minutes we actually performed pretty well. Then last week against Grenoble we turned that 20-minute performance into near enough an 80-minute one. There are still things we can improve on, but we are playing with confidence at the moment and looking good.”
Lying in wait on Sunday are Wasps, who have enjoyed a flying start to the campaign.
“Wasps are a very good side who have lost just one game this season, and that was against the champions,” said Watson.
“They are obviously in good form but if we look back to our game there in February, we only lost by one point. We can build on what we showed against Grenoble and, while we know it will be a tough game, it is one we’re looking forward to.
“There is no denying Wasps have some pretty special individuals, but the thing is to shut them down as a team. They have some good play-makers who give their outside backs good ball, they have a hefty back-row but it’s about denying them that opportunity and focusing on what we can do to hurt them through our own attack.
“That begins with the obvious work rate and attitude, which you have to bring to any game, and it is especially true against a top side like Wasps. One point was the difference the last time we went down there, and we can definitely take confidence from that.”