Mark Laycock speaks about Olympic hopeful Watson on International Olympic Day
Newcastle Falcons’ coach Mark Laycock believes Marcus Watson can show his ‘phenomenal talent’ at the Olympics.
The 24-year-old flyer, older brother of Bath Rugby’s Anthony Watson, joined Falcons in 2015 after three years as a full-time 7s player with England.
He played in 26 World Series 7s tournaments during his time with the England squad, scoring a sensational 49 tries, and was part of the Red Rose side that qualified to form the Team GB side for the Olympics at the Twickenham 7s in 2015.
With the likes of Watson in the British ranks, Laycock believes the squad has a great chance this summer – even though competition will be tough.
“Marcus is a phenomenal talent. Some of his attacking moments last season were second to none,” said Laycock. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him to play at the Rio Olympics.
“He will come back a much better and stronger player and he is already a very talented individual.
“There are teams like Fiji and South Africa in the Olympics who are fantastic.
“Team GB have got a chance. Bringing a new squad together can help bring that ‘X Factor’, and they may have some tricks up their sleeves.”
It is an exciting time for rugby with the sport about to leap into the limelight in its first appearance at the Olympic Games since 1924.
Premiership Rugby leads the way when it comes to club 7s, and after this year's Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series kicks off in Cardiff, it will visit Exeter, Northampton and Newcastle before the showpiece final in Coventry on 7 August.
And Laycock is excited to see 7s being given the chance to showcase the sport to the rest of the world.
He added: “7s is a great sport. Just watching Spain beat Samoa in the last play of the game at the Olympic repechage tournament was great.
“It is high intensity, always a good watch and always exciting and the whole world is going to see that for the first time.
“It will bring a whole new audience in and take the game to new levels.
“Hopefully others will continue to get a grasp of the game and watch it more regularly, as it is a fast game and there is a good party atmosphere.”
The Singha 7s kicks off on Saturday 30 July for Falcons, one of the host clubs this year, and they will face Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors in the group stage at Kingston Park.
Laycock added: “We are currently building up stamina and fitness levels.
“We will put quite a few sessions in in the week leading up to the start of the competition and focus on that.
“Some are training for XVs and this will help and transfer to 7s as well.”
For tickets to the Kingston Park round of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s, click here