October 2, 2019 / 9:33 AM / 16 days ago

England's Watson wary of Puma kicking threat

(Reuters) - England will face a stern test of their communication and co-ordination skills as they attempt to counter Argentina’s kicking threat in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup Pool C clash, winger Anthony Watson said on Wednesday.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup warm-up match - England v Italy - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - September 6, 2019 England's Anthony Watson scores their fourth try Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes/Files

Despite England’s nine-match winning run against Argentina, the 25-year-old is aware of the need to be vigilant against the South Americans, saying that their kicking accuracy could cause problems in Tokyo.

“They like to kick both contestable and long and we’ve seen at the World Cup how important the high ball is,” Watson told a news conference.

“You saw in the Rugby Championship, they have threats all over the pitch. We’ll do our research... to make sure we know what threats they pose in what areas of the pitch.

“We’ll be ready for that. If they kick loosely to us, we will be ready. We back our counter-attack skills.”

Watson said England would also have to be focussed when dealing with Argentina’s dangerous crosskicks.

“You have to be completely aware of the positioning of your opposition wing or fullback, keep looking up and communicating with your backfield players to make sure someone’s covering, or you are.

“Space does appear at times and you have to react to either take advantage or nullify it. Wingers have to communicate with the guys inside them to let them know where there is space so they can execute the kicks to where you want them.”

Watson said the return to fitness of Exeter Chiefs winger Jack Nowell from an ankle injury was a welcome boost as Eddie Jones’s side look to continue their winning ways having beaten Tonga and the United States.

“You only have to see how many people he beat — it must have been 12-15 — in the time he was on the pitch for the Premiership final (against Saracens),” Watson said.

“He is a very special player and will be driving the back three players along. He looks very sharp.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Tony Lawrence

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