Jake White seeks out Luke Watson for Sharks
December 19, 2013
Luke Watson wants more Super Rugby game time after the Southern Kings were relegated © Getty Images
Luke Watson may return to Super Rugby in 2014 with the Sharks, with whom he made his competition debut as a 19-year-old, after a fractured foot cut short his 2013 campaign with the Southern Kings.
Jake White, director of coaching at the Sharks having returned home to South Africa after quitting the Brumbies in the wake of his failed big to claim the Wallabies job after Robbie Deans' sacking, has already made contact with Watson. "I wanted to establish his recovery period from the foot operation," White told keo.co.za. "I also wanted him to know that I wanted to have a look at him when he was fit again."
Watson described the phone call as "a very encouraging and exciting telephonic chat", telling keo.co.za that he should be training by mid-January and available to play in February. "Jake said we would chat again mid-January and asked for a regular update on my injury recovery."
White and Watson have history, the coach preferring physically larger flankers and selecting at Test lever a player he had previously advised to quit the back-row for reasons of stature only because of political pressure. Indeed, White said of Watson in 2009: "I don't think he's a good rugby player. He is a most overrated player."
Watson subsequently accused White of personal bias, but he told Keo this week that "so much of what happened back then was third-party related".
"It is history," Watson said. "What excites me is the now and what is possible in the future. I am committed to the Kings but have always stated my desire to play Super Rugby again - and Jake's phone call gives me hope that if my fitness and form is good enough I will be a consideration at the Sharks. It adds to the motivation for 2014."
White said as far as he was concerned that "the past belongs in the past".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch