England Sevens have settled into Glasgow and are cranking up their preparation for the Commonwealth Games. We caught up with Marcus Watson...
Rugby World: How’s England’s Commonwealth Games prep been going so far?
Marcus Watson: It’s been good! We’ve done a few long days in training, to try and do the same hours as we’ll be doing at the tournament. So that means we’ve had a few 9pm training sessions, because our last pool game against Australia is scheduled for 9.48pm.
We’re pretty used to playing in the early evenings when we go to the Sevens World Series events, but it’s not usually past 7pm or 8pm, so this is something new for us. Before each tournament we have a mini pre-sesaon, and when you’re playing games at different times during the day, you have to try and switch on and off as much as possible.
RW: What else has been going on?
MW: We went to Portugal for a week’s training. We were doing two sessions a day, one fitness and one contact. People who don’t watch sevens often assume we don’t have as much contact as 15s. A lot of our fitness sessions are done on the pitch, to test our skills under pressure. It’s game-specific fitness, designed to mirror what happens in a game as much as possible. Of course we have our gym sessions too, and sessions without rugby.
RW: How did you get on at Sevens and the City?
MW: It was good for me personally, because I tore a ligament in my toe in the final game of the London Sevens at Twickenham, so it was good to get a bit of game time now I’m back fit. Plus England got to have a final run out, and we beat Scotland 12-10 in the final.
The synthetic pitch at Allianz Park felt a little different. It’s a fast track and is very bouncy, but I did come away with a few burns. Some boys have talked about sore joints after playing on it, but none of us had anything like that the next day.
RW: Have you been to a Commonwealth Games before?
MW: No, this is my first! There’s been a great buzz in the run up to the tournament. Seeing the adverts on TV has been pretty cool, knowing I’ll be playing there. I’m looking forward to the opening ceremony too, and seeing the other athletes around.
I have a friend who does triple jump but unfortunately he’s just missed out on the games. I’m looking forward to watching the athletics though, especially the 100m and 200m.
RW: Enough of the Commonwealth Games… can you tell us any stories about Anthony?!
MW: I’ve got loads! A good one is that fact that he used to cry every time we played Fifa together on the playstation. He would always want to win, but we’re both competitive so I wouldn’t ever let him win just because he’s my younger brother!
Where Anthony’s got to now, I’d like to be there too, so I’m very happy to see him where he is (in the England squad). It would be nice to play with him at some point too! We’ve only played together once or twice, in an A league game at London Irish, once where he played on the wing and I played full-back, and once he came on for me.
We’ve got another brother as well, Callum, who’s in his last year at school at St George’s. He plays 15s and sevens, but there’s no pressure from me or Anthony or any of the family to go professional. He’s pretty sharp, he’s got good footwork and he’s probably the most aggressive one of the three of us!
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Watch Marcus and England 7s training in the gym!
Click here to see the sevens schedule at the Commonwealth Games.