With injuries aplenty in the back three, Watson looks set to make an almighty leap into the senior England squad when it is announced tomorrow. Not even in the Saxons at the beginning of the season, he is likely to leapfrog the likes of Jonny May, Dave Strettle and Jack Nowell – and why not? There is not an attribute of an international winger that he does not possess to a high standard – he is quick, strong, solid in defence, a clinical finisher and not afraid to get stuck in at the breakdown, either. Add to that the fact that he is arguably more comfortable at fullback, and you have a very enticing package. England fans should be salivating at the prospect of him being involved this Six Nations.
Simpson proved on Saturday that there is no replacement for raw pace. One scything break through the Exeter fringe defence brought Wasps back into a game that was threatening to slip away from them, while his chase down of Henry Slade – whether he actually stopped him scoring or not – was proof that there is no such thing as a lost cause. Andy Goode made the headlines for his last minute drop goal, but had it not been for Simpson, Wasps would have been out of the game long ago. Sadly for him, England are well stocked in the scrum-half department. Despite frustrating inconsistencies in the past, if he can continue this kind of form he could come into international contention soon.
Goode’s jinking, almost stuttering style is not for everyone, and has been found out on the international stage at times in the past, but there is no doubt that he offers something a bit different at the back. His vision is second to none, thanks his being a fly-half at heart, which also aids his positional and kicking games. On Saturday, he showcased his ability to join the line in the wider spaces and use his playmaking nous to put others in space, while also crossing the line himself. Mike Brown is the undisputed first choice at fullback, but with Ben Foden out injured do not be surprised to see Goode feature at some point during the Six Nations, probably from the bench.
Jackson is no stranger to the international scene, having led the Irish backline for most of last year’s Six Nations. While that was a less than excellent campaign for them, Jackson has matured as a player since then. He was instrumental in Ulster’s win over Munster at the weekend, bringing his province’s dangerous backline into the game with aplomb. With Johnny Sexton struggling for form over in France, and looking increasingly burnt out, and Ian Madigan sharing the starting duties with Jimmy Gopperth at Leinster, Jackson could seize his opportunity to make his mark on the Irish number 10 jersey if he continues to play like this.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images