ANTHONY WATSON ditched chasing the celebrity lifestyle after a dressing down from Kyle Sinckler.
England winger Watson wins his 50th cap against France on Saturday.
And he has revealed that earlier in his career he was side-tracked by fame and fortune. . . before straight-talking team-mate Sinckler told him to get real.
Lions star Watson, 27, said: "When I got my first cap I was probably pretty immature.
"I was interested in a lot of other stuff besides rugby, but as Kyle Sinckler always says to me: 'You’ve got to keep the main thing the main thing'.
"That’s how I would say how most of it has changed from cap one to cap 50.
“It was trying to be in the limelight for not necessarily the right reasons, trying to be more than a rugby player."
A huge turning point for Watson was when he snapped his Achilles at an NFL photo-shoot in 2018 – six months into recovering from a first operation to fix his heel.
Boss Eddie Jones was furious with the freak injury and Watson learnt the hard way as he spent a year out.
The now-grounded Bath ace said: "The Achilles injury was massive for me because I realised while some of the off-field stuff was there, the things that really made me happy, playing rugby, weren’t.
"That was a pretty stark realisation and Kyle was really important to me through that whole process.
“There were times during that injury where I was off trying to do media or marketing stuff and he was like: 'You need to keep the main thing the main thing'.
"That hit home with me and made me realise that if I want to keep doing what I love I need to make sure I keep it the main thing and not the other way round. That’s probably the biggest learning.
"Some of it comes with age and maturity – we’ve all got a finite amount of years paying this game and you don’t know when it’s going to come to an end.
"You don’t know when your body is no longer going to be able to do what you need it to do. So in order for you to maximise it to its greatest potential you need to keep the main thing the main thing and do everything outside rugby to support rugby."
After Jones used to compare rookie Maro Itoje to Vauchall Viva, speedster Watson also gets the car treatment.
He used to have a deal with Italian sports car giants Maserati and Jones compares him to one of those luxurious motors, or. . . a budget Daihatsu.
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After almost falling off his chair with laughter, Watson added: "I’m actually driving neither of those, but Eddie wants me to say Maserati.
"It’s basically a reference to how I’ve been moving, whether I’ve been moving fast or not. If I’m not moving particularly well on a day, or my GPS is slow, I’m a Daihatsu for the day.
"If I hit a top speed I’m a Maserati for the day. So he often asks me first thing in the morning: ‘What car have we got today?’ To which I have to reply: 'Maserati!'"
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