Luke Watson has responded to speculation that Crusaders captain Richie McCaw will be rested for the Vodacom Super 14 clash with the Stormers on Saturday, urging coach Robbie Deans to play the opensider widely regarded as the world’s best.
Speaking to keo.co.za, Watson expressed his hope that McCaw will wear jersey 7 on Saturday.
“I really hope that he plays, he’s an awesome athlete and a world class player. Obviously I want to test myself against the best regularly, and there are few better than McCaw. I hope that he plays on Saturday,” Watson said.
After a disappointing display against the Chiefs, Watson bounced back against the Reds to break his own record for positive contributions in the Stormers squad.
A remarkable 56 contributions were positive during the 80 minutes, including 16 balls slowed down and four turnovers. He made 18 tackles and only four acts were deemed negative.
This compares to Schalk Burger’s delivery of 39 positive contributions.
Watson has been amongst the most consistent performers in the Stormers side, and although he knows Springbok recognition remains unlikely, is still determined to make as strong a case as possible.
“I can’t pick myself, all I can do is make it as difficult as possible for me to be overlooked. Playing against the likes of McCaw gives me that opportunity to make my claim, so I welcome the challenge of playing him and will be disappointed if he’s left out of their match squad.”
Watson confirmed that the Cape side were buoyed after their second half display against the Reds, and expressed quiet confidence at the prospect of becoming the first side to knock over the champion Crusaders this year.
“We’ve had a tough season but the spirit has remained good and now it’s time for the results to follow. The wins against the Force and Reds were important, but we know that we will be judged on how we perform against the competition frontrunners. This is a real opportunity for us and one I know we’ll be up for.”
By Chris Hewitt