'Unpredictable' France impress England's Watson

·2-min read
Running towards a landmark - England wing Anthony Watson (L) will win his 50th cap against France on Saturday

England wing Anthony Watson expects to face a France side at their "unpredictable" best when the old rivals meet in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

France, having come through a coronavirus scare that saw their third-round match against Scotland postponed, arrive in London still chasing a Grand Slam following wins over Italy and Ireland.

Reigning champions England, by contrast, have seen their hopes of a successful title defence all but ended by losses to Scotland and Wales.

They now face a France side who, with scrum-half Antoine Dupont leading the way, have rediscovered their traditional veuve in attack while at the same time becoming ever more tactically and defensively disciplined.

France's post World Cup resurgence under coach Fabien Galthie started with a 24-17 win over England in last year's Six Nations after Red Rose boss Eddie Jones had warned Les Bleus to be prepared for "absolute brutality" from his side.

"The ability to play from anywhere and be unpredictable is built into French rugby," said Watson.

"That is the identity of French rugby and it's good for the sport and it's good that they have been able to hold that, even though they have changed a bit in terms of their pragmatism through their kicking."

Watson will be winning his 50th England cap on Saturday and the Bath flyer goes into 'Le Crunch' in good form after scoring three tries in his last two Tests.

He had to battle back from achilles injuries either side of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, where Watson was a member of the England team beaten in the final by South Africa.

The 27-year-old British and Irish Lion said some timely advice from England team-mate Kyle Sinckler had helped him on his way.

"When I got my first cap I was pretty immature," Watson said.

"I was trying to be in the limelight for not necessarily the right reasons, trying to be more than a rugby player

"But as Kyle Sinckler always says to me: 'you've got to keep the main thing the main thing'," explained Watson, who has scored 21 tries in 49 internationals for England.

He added: "The achilles injury was massive for me because I realised that while some of the off-field stuff was there, the things that really made me happy -- playing rugby -- weren't.

"That was a pretty stark realisation and Kyle was really important to me through that whole process."