Anthony Watson available for Bath's trip to Northampton

13 September 2017 05:23

Bath boss Todd Blackadder says England star Anthony Watson is "good to go" ahead of Friday's Aviva Premiership clash against Northampton.

The British and Irish Lions wing, who starred for the tourists in New Zealand this summer, gave Bath an injury scare when he took a blow to his shoulder during the victory over European champions Saracens last weekend.

But Bath rugby director Blackadder has allayed any concerns about Watson's fitness.

"He took a really heavy bang, but he has come through fine and he is available. He is good to go," Blackadder said.

"He has just taken his game to a whole new level, that's what I can see. Not only just on the field, but off the field, his leadership, his preparation.

"The gas he has, and he has got a great kicking game, which is the balance he has brought into his game."

Even a player of Watson's stature, though, has been eclipsed by his fellow England international Semesa Rokoduguni, whose try-count this term stands at three after just two Premiership games.

His try double against Saracens underlined a rich vein of form, although his England honours remain at two caps in three years and he was overlooked for the Argentina tour earlier this summer.

Reflecting on Rokoduguni's current form, Blackadder said: "He has been doing this for a long time - he can pull those tries out. I don't know how he does it, but he does it.

"I think for Rocco to get the England call-up, I think it was always around his defence, wasn't it. This year, I see improvements.

"It doesn't mean he is not a good player if he doesn't play for England. All he has got to do is just keep the pressure on.

"The dialogue between England and Rocco is really good. I think we are all pretty clear on what needs work.

" For us (Bath), we can't keep putting ourselves in a position where he needs to bale us out (in games).

"We need to be in a position where we are scoring those tries without all the pressure on him, but it just shows what a great player he is."

Blackadder, meanwhile, confirmed that summer recruit Sam Underhill will start the Northampton game at Franklin's Gardens.

Flanker Underhill, who has moved to Bath from the Ospreys and made a first England appearance in Argentina, is set for his Premiership debut.

"We will give him a crack on Friday," Blackadder said.

"We think it is a good opportunity to get him out there, and there is a good challenge there for Sam.

"We just want to keep building the foundation and making the foundation of our squad better and better."

Source: PA