Scotland v Australia: Lions tour showed 'how good our group is' - Hamish Watson

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport Scotland
Hamish Watson in action for the British & Irish Lions
Hamish Watson played for the British & Irish Lions in South Africa
Autumn Nations Series: Scotland v Australia
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Sunday, 7 November Time: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Follow live text commentary on the BBC Scotland website and app

Hamish Watson says having eight Scots with the British & Irish Lions has made them realise "how good our group is" ahead of hosting Australia on Sunday.

The 30-year-old flanker impressed in the warm-up matches but only managed one Test appearance in South Africa.

But he has "no regrets" and put his lack of Test game time purely down to coaching preference.

"The Scottish lads got a lot of confidence from that tour," Edinburgh's Watson said.

"We're out there with the best players in the UK and Ireland, but it also filled us with confidence that a lot of our boys could have gone who didn't go."

Watson believes Scotland will need to draw on such experience to defeat an Australian side under former Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie who have won five games in a row.

"You are probably a better player without knowing it," he said. "When you go on a Lions tour, it's not as if you're learning anything new skillset wise, but just being around those sorts of players and that atmosphere and environment for eight weeks, subconsciously you pick stuff up.

"The fact we've got eight Scottish boys coming back into camp now and who can feed back to the group can help the group grow."

Watson's return was delayed a week more than the rest because "my groin has been bothering me for a while" but returned to play the first half of Saturday's 60-14 win over Tonga.

"It was great to get some time off after the Lions tour and get a good bit of a rehab block as well," he said. "It looked a bit rushed at the end of it because we ran out of club games and it probably wasn't ideal to come back straight into an international, but it was good to get 40 minutes under my belt."

Now the back row is relishing "the great challenge" of facing "world class" opposite number Michael Hooper.

Watson will also take confidence from being part of the Scotland team that recorded back-to-back wins over Australia in 2017.

"We've got a fairly decent record over the last few times we've played them," he added. "They're always full of great players, they've got great individuals and the difference now is that, collectively, they've come together a bit more."

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