Luke Watson
South African rugby union player
Luke Watson
Luke Asher Watson is a South African rugby union footballer who can play at flank or eighthman. He has represented and captained the South African Schools rugby team (2001), South Africa's under-19 (2002) and under-21 (2004) teams, as well as the Springbok Sevens team (2001). Watson has also captained both the Western Province and the Super 14 Stormers. He currently plays for the Eastern Province Kings.
Biography
Luke Watson's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Luke Watson from around the web
YOUTH FOOTBALL: Sports hailed champs again
Dispatch - almost 5 years
AFTER a long wait to catch up with a backlog of matches, HUCKNALL SPORTS UNDER-12S BLACK were finally crowned champions of the Young Elizabethan League’s (YEL) Sunday First Division for the second season running. With a win required against Pelican Colts, proud Sports were in no mood to slip up — and cantered to a 6-0 victory thanks to good goals from Jake Hollis (2), Josh Pearson (2), Aaron Roberts and Jack Marsden. Now they are chasing the double because they play fourth-placed divisional rivals Netherfield Boys in the final of the league cup. The match takes place at Arnold Town’s Eagle Valley Stadium a week on Sunday May 13. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS (AGAIN!) — our photo shows Hucknall Sports Under-12s Black (from left), Back Row: Justin Stenson (assistant manager), Aaron Roberts, Jake Hollis, Luke Watson, Matthew Bloor, Sam Jackson, Oliver Bradbury, Paul Bradbury (manager). Front Row: Connor Kennedy, Josh Pearson, Morgan Jubb, Daniel Stenson, Jack Marsden, Jack Clark.
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Dispatch article
Luke’s catch wins first junior match
Todmorden News - almost 5 years
LUKE Watson caught two good bream plus two carp and some roach (10lb 10oz) to win Todmorden Angling Society’s first under-16 junior match of the season on Ramsden Wood. Second was Joe Bleakley (9lb 1oz) new double peg, two ide plus cublets and bream.
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Todmorden News article
Under-15s finish with only draw of season
News Post Leader - almost 5 years
BLYTH Spartans Under-15s played their final game of the season in the knowledge of already securing a league and cup double. Against Newcastle Pinpoint it was always going to be a tough game as Blyth had nothing but pride to play for while their opponents were strong candidates for promotion themselves only a few weeks ago. There were few chances for either side to win the game and at the final whistle Blyth completed their only scoreless game and draw of the season. This team can now go on re-charge the batteries in the knowledge that it will be a lot tougher next season, but nothing will ever replicate the experiences they have had. The squad was: Reece Dobie, Jordan Yeoman, Jack Harding, Liam Wall, Samuel Johnson, James Golding, Jake Whisson, Alex Robinson, Ayrton Browning, Matthew Fretwell, James Gillie, Luke Watson, Joe Brooks, Kyle Mills and Alex You’ll.
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News Post Leader article
TV Insider - RTE.ie
Google News - over 5 years
The one curiosity element was the sight of Jesse Metcalfe as Luke Watson, a member of the US Marshal team at the centre of the show. He, of course, previously played gardener John Rowland in Desperate Housewives, the college kid who embarked on an
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Google News article
Gaddafi forces fired on teenage sailors - The Star
Google News - over 5 years
Naval recruits William Mallinder and Luke Watson, both aged 19, have competed 100 days on patrol with the Royal Navy near North Africa during the recent conflict in the region. Both are aboard HMS Liverpool, a Type 42 destroyer
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Google News article
Tweet and Pic of the Day - SPORT24
Google News - over 5 years
"(Sic)Opening of #RWC2011!!time has come & excitement grows here in NZ-sure its booming in SA too!enjoy this journey with us evryone-God Bless" Former Springbok flank and current Eastern Province Kings captain Luke Watson (@lukewatson6) joked about the
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Google News article
EP Kings change 6 for Griffons in Currie Cup - Worldcupweb.com
Google News - over 5 years
Other noticeable absentees are speedster Norman Nelson, Captain Luke Watson and experienced campaigner Falie Oelschig. All three are expected for selection for next week's clash against the Valke. Coach, Alan Solomons alluded to the fact that Welkom
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Google News article
Bath eye return to the top - ESPN.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Bath have also lost a wealth of talent in the form of fly-half Butch James, back-row Luke Watson and centre Shontayne Hape while Danny Grewcock has opted for retirement. But they have recruited impressively for the new campaign with England lock Dave
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Google News article
Party was no picnic : Alumni surprise Christensen with race, reunion - Stillwater Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Some hall of fames don't feature as many All-Americans as were on hand for the alumni race, including four (Luke Watson, Sean Graham, Jake Watson and Ben Blankenship) who have run sub four-minute miles. Attending was a no-brainer according to Luke
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Google News article
Forestry deal brings end of an era - ABC Online
Google News - over 5 years
LUKE WATSON, FORMER LOGGER: I know none of my kids'll ever have the chance to do the same thing their uncles or father or anyone had a chance to do or be involved in. It's an industry that's been around for hundreds of years, it's coming to a close
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Google News article
McGeechan: Bath not the finished article - ESPN.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Bath have had a huge turnover of players over the summer with the likes of Butch James, Luke Watson and Shontayne Hape leaving the Recreation Ground while Bath favourites Danny Grewcock and David Barnes opted to hang up their boots
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Google News article
Juniors get first taste of regatta action - Hunts Post
Google News - over 5 years
Luke Watson and Stefan Gawin both put in excellent performances in the J14 1x, with Gawin adding another victory to his record. They then paired up to race an age category up in the J15 2x, surprising the bigger and older competition by pushing them
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Google News article
Easterside Youth Club closes due to lack of funding - Gazette Live
Google News - over 5 years
Luke Watson, 11, who goes to Trinity College, said: “I love the youth club. It keeps me off the street and I do really enjoy it. We can play pool, and games and a lot of my friends come here too. I am really disappointed.” Nicholas Neal, 13, said: “We
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Google News article
Fine Taylor-Smith leads EP to victory - SuperSport.com
Google News - over 5 years
Fullback Sarel Marais's kick ricocheted off a Valke player and was grabbed by Kings flank Luke Watson, who had been played onside. His back-flip in the tackle came off another Valke player and was picked up by Marais, who then raced clear of the
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Google News article
Cricket: Usk, Panteg and Abergavenny all stutter on a day of shocks - WalesOnline
Google News - over 5 years
Tarun Manohar scored 26 when Rogerstone replied and Marc Lezar got 23 but Jake Kings took 3-11 off six overs and then Luke Watson got 2-33 off six to help get them all out for 114. With four games to go, Croesyceiliog look doomed after losing at home
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Google News article
Trophies galore for young football stars - Hucknall Today
Google News - over 5 years
... most improvd Thomas Poole; UNDER-10S RED: manager's player Zak Richardson, players' player Nathan Seaman, most improved James Abbott; UNDER-11S RED SATURDAY: manager's player Josh Pearson, players' player Luke Watson, most improved Jake Hollis;
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Google News article
Defending champion Kogo back at Half - Parkersburg News
Google News - over 5 years
Looking to return the championship to America for the first time since Colorado's Dan Browne beat the field to the finish line in 2001 will be an elite American contingent led by 31-year old Pennsylvanian Luke Watson, who has run a personal best of
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Luke Watson
    THIRTIES
  • 2014
    Age 30
    However, the injury curse struck again and Watson missed the remainder of the 2014 through a serious concussion.
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    He finally returned to action in August 2014 after more than a year out.
    More Details Hide Details Due to the Currie Cup's expansion from six to eight teams, the found themselves in the Premier Division of the competition after a long absence. Watson played in two matches for the Kings – a 16–35 opening day defeat to former side, during which Watson took just 33 minutes to score his first try for the EP Kings after injury and a 30–25 loss to the in Pretoria.
  • TWENTIES
  • 2013
    Age 29
    Watson was named captain of the Super Rugby squad for their inaugural season in the competition in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details He played in their first ever game – a 22–10 victory over the in Port Elizabeth – but suffered a throat injury in the 32nd minute, was substituted off and subsequently missed their next six matches. He returned to the starting line-up for the home match against the, but looked unfit and had a poor game. He started the next two matches against the and the from the substitutes' bench before returning to the starting line-up for the matches against the – where he scored two tries in a 34–27 victory – and the. He was ruled out of the match with flu and then suffered an ankle fracture that ruled him out of the remainder of the season.
  • 2012
    Age 28
    He returned to action in the 2012 Currie Cup First Division in July 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Despite being restricted to just seven starts, Watson scored 13 tries during the Kings' campaign. He scored hat-tricks in their matches against the and the and two tries in each of their matches against the, and the. He missed three rounds of the competition with a rib injury and suffered a broken ankle in their semi-final match against the. Despite his absence, the Kings won the final of the competition, beating the 26–25 in Port Elizabeth, but failed to gain promotion to the Premier Division, losing to the in a two-legged promotion/relegation play-off.
    He sustained a shoulder injury in the build-up to the 2012 season which ruled him out of the entire 2012 Vodacom Cup competition.
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  • 2011
    Age 27
    In domestic action, he started in nine of the ' matches during the 2011 Currie Cup First Division season, scoring seven tries – the joint-highest by a forward in the competition – including two tries in their match against the as the Kings finished second on the log and losing 43–12 to table-toppers in the final.
    More Details Hide Details Watson was available for the title run-in, however, sustaining a knock to the head in training prior to their semi-final match against the, ruling him out of the semi-finals and final with concussion.
    On the playing field, his first appearances for the side came during the 2011 IRB Nations Cup, as the team – playing as the South African Kings – won all three matches to win the competition.
    More Details Hide Details Watson played in their 31–17 victory over and their 27–23 victory over.
    Watson's move coincided with his signing in May 2011 as the first client of Shane Keohane's new sports management agency, which is part of Highbury Safika Media.
    More Details Hide Details Highbury's Chief Operating Officer is Mark Keohane and the company publishes SA Rugby magazine.
  • 2010
    Age 26
    The Kings won the 2010 Currie Cup First Division just before Watson signed and were the base union of the Southern Kings, a Super Rugby franchise that would represent South Africa as the South African Kings in the IRB Nations Cup in Romania in June 2011 and play Super Rugby in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details He said that the "decision to leave Bath Rugby was the hardest of my life", but dismissed claims that his move was influenced by his father Cheeky's position as president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union. Instead, he credited Southern Kings' coach Alan Solomons (assistant Springbok coach under Mallett) for his decision.
    Watson announced in December 2010 that he would leave Bath Rugby to join the Eastern Province Kings, the South African provincial side based in Watson's former home town, Port Elizabeth and the team where he started his career in 2002 when they were known as the.
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    By December 2010 Watson had played 29 games in all and scored three tries for Bath.
    More Details Hide Details Facing none of the controversy that surrounded him in South Africa, Watson's play was hailed as "inspirational" by Bath's head coach, Steve Meehan. Meehan also noted Watson's popularity off the field.
    He suffered a neck injury that required him to spend the night in hospital, while a "ridiculously niggly foot injury" sustained against Harlequins in October 2010 sidelined Watson for two months.
    More Details Hide Details Despite playing with some discomfort, Watson returned to premiership rugby when he led his side to a win against London Irish on 1 January 2011. Watson was nominated for the 2011 Gatorade Performance of the Season Award for his contribution to Bath's game against Leicester Tigers on 23 October 2010.
    At the start of the 2010–11 season Watson earned the captaincy of his premiership club, replacing fellow South African Michael Claassens who had declined to occupy the position for a second season.
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  • 2009
    Age 25
    In contrast to Jones' predictions, Watson became one of the outstanding players of the 2009–10 Guinness Premiership, winning During December 2009 he won the Man of the Match award for his performance against Edinburgh.
    More Details Hide Details Bath ended 4th in the 2009–10 Premiership. Despite this, Jones refused to retract his earlier statement, perhaps due to the dislike he formed for Watson on the Lions Tour.
    Coming off the bench on his debut for Bath in November 2009, Watson scored a decisive try against the Ospreys.
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    Watson left South Africa to join Bath Rugby in November 2009, when the club was lying 11th of the 12 teams in the Guinness Premiership table after losing key players to drug controversy during the June 2009 off-season.
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    Watson shone in the 2009 Currie Cup in the absence of the Springboks, and won the "Currie Cup Player of the Year" award.
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    When a Springbok squad was named in May 2009 to face a Namibian team in a warm-up for the Lions tour, Watson was omitted.
    More Details Hide Details According to then-Springbok coach De Villiers, Watson was not selected because he was neither the best nor the second best player in his position (8th Man). Stephen Jones, a rugby correspondent for The Times who was following the Lions tour, described Watson as “nothing more than a Currie Cup player” and as a “second or third choice” for a Guinness Premiership club. Jones also described father Cheeky Watson as “just another version of a pushy parent.”
    Former Springbok captain Corné Krige said in April 2009 that Watson was playing “unbelievable rugby” and that he would pick him on form as " 'among the best fetchers in the Super 14' ", but not at eighthman.
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    Watson had a better season in the 2009 Super 14, and speculation arose again that he might be selected to face the British and Irish Lions.
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  • 2008
    Age 24
    On 24 October 2008, the day before the announcement of the Bok squad to tour Europe, Watson declared himself unavailable for selection.
    More Details Hide Details His form at the time was considered so poor that he stood little chance of making the squad on merit.
    Springbok vice-captain Victor Matfield said that during his stand-in captaincy in 2008 "I did my best to involve Luke in all the activities".
    More Details Hide Details He had invited Watson to contribute but Watson "didn't want to". Matfield also stated, "It is untrue that the other players didn't try to accept him. It is rather a case of Luke never wanting to be part of the Springbok set-up." Matfield revealed that many players had complained about Watson. Watson dismissed the claims after the publication of Smit's autobiography in 2009, saying that it was not possible for one player to so badly affect a 40-member squad. While acknowledging that Smit had done " 'incredibly well with South Africa' " he concluded that Smit's statements were " 'a cop-out' ".
    John Smit, Watson's Springbok captain, said in his autobiography (The Captain in the Cauldron) that Watson was referred to as the " ' "cancer" of the team' " and was the primary reason for the Springboks' poor performances in the 2008 TriNations tournament.
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    Following the appointment in January 2008 of Peter de Villiers as the new coach of the Springbok rugby team, Watson was selected for nine more Test caps.
    More Details Hide Details Critics continued to question his performance at test level throughout the year with comments that his performances were “ordinary" and "anonymous". Eventually De Villiers relegated Watson to a substitute role, and reverted instead to the flankers whom Jake White had been criticised for preferring to Watson, namely Schalk Burger and Juan Smith. Even as a substitute Watson made no impact, and a number of journalists criticized him for not living up to expectations on the field. Two said, "Like a dirty smell, he has tended to hang around in this year's TriNations tournament." As in 2007, Watson's teammates were less than flattering in their assessment of his 2008 contributions to the national team.
    On 14 October 2008 the Ubombo Rugby wrote in a letter to Govender that Watson had not said anything that was racist or defamatory.
    More Details Hide Details Watson eventually appeared before a disciplinary hearing, which was abandoned on a technical legal matter, and SARU decided to drop the matter entirely.
    A number of senior players reportedly threatened to boycott the 2008 end of year tour to England, Wales and Scotland if Watson was included in the squad.
    More Details Hide Details But Andy Marinos, then acting managing director of SARU, dismissed the reports as "speculation" and said that they were "utterly groundless". When Watson made his first playing appearance after the incident, in a friendly warm-up match against English club Saracens at Newlands in January 2009, he was repeatedly booed by his home crowd. This treatment continued for at least three games into the Super 14 tournament and reached a climax in the Stormers fixture against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Watson's detractors branded him "Luke the Puke" on various social media sites on the internet. The head of SARU's legal affairs department, Christo Ferreira, commented in public media that Watson could be charged of breach of SARU's code of conduct and fined, suspended or warned if found guilty. SARU appointed lawyer Dekker Govender to conduct a preliminary investigation into the incident.
    On 3 October 2008 Watson delivered a speech at the Ubumbo rugby festival at the University of Cape Town.
    More Details Hide Details He spoke about his family's political record, and described wearing the Springbok jersey as "a burden" and said he had to struggle "to keep myself from vomiting on it." Watson said that his Springbok team-mates refused to associate with him after his forced inclusion in the team in 2007. Although Watson gave no context to his comments, some have inferred that he was referring to the controversy over the retention of the Springbok emblem for national sports teams. In a question and answer session after the speech Watson allegedly stated that he hated losing his place in the Bok team to an Afrikaner (Schalk Burger, a former IRB Player of the Year). He also allegedly quoted his father as saying that the rugby administration was "rotten to the core" and run by "Dutchmen." Afrikaners associate the term with pejorative attitudes towards them by British colonists and their descendants, connoting lack of intelligence and low breeding. No reference to Burger or to "Dutchmen" occur in the transcript of his speech.
    In September 2008 Watson was also replaced by De Villiers as captain of the Western Province side under coach Allister Coetzee.
    More Details Hide Details Watson had been appointed Western Province captain on 1 June 2006, and had occupied the position 33 times by 14 June 2009.
  • 2007
    Age 23
    Injured for most of the season, he hardly featured in the 2007 Currie Cup.
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    Watson made his controversial Springbok debut against Manu Samoa on 9 June 2007 but made little impression, and was substituted early in the second half after sustaining a rib injury.
    More Details Hide Details Watson's father has since told South African newspapers that Luke never wanted to play for the Springboks under White. Watson Snr also boycotted his son's capping ceremony, apparently in protest against White’s attitude towards his son. An unknown media source criticized Watson for being "hypocritical in taking up his forced selection" against Samoa, given his public opinions about White and Smit. The nature of the relationship between Watson and his teammates for the test against Samoa can be gauged from reports that the senior Springboks "had refused to initiate him into the squad", saying that Yeye, Stofile, and Hoskins should do it instead. As part of his forced selection Watson was included in the tour to Australia and New Zealand for the away leg of the Tri-Nations series, as White rested many of his first-choice players. Watson withdrew from the tour pleading a rib injury which was estimated to need about 10 days to heal. But Watson turned out for Western Province in the Currie Cup on the same day as the first of the Tri-Nations matches. Convener of Springbok selectors Jooste expressed surprise at how quickly Watson had recovered. Andy Marinos, SARU's manager of national teams, cleared Watson to play for his province, saying that uncertainty about the length of Watson's recovery time had prompted the national selectors to omit him. Watson had been assessed by the provincial team doctor and passed a fitness test.
    These included the selection of Watson in the World Cup squad; in return, White’s contract with SA Rugby would be extended beyond the 2007 World Cup.
    More Details Hide Details Failure to select Luke Watson would result in him losing his job before the World Cup. White claims that the Watsons subsequently backed down. Luke's father, Cheeky Watson, has denied these claims.
    In his autobiography In Black and White – The Jake White Story, White mentions that he was approached at the start of the 2007 international season by lawyer Brian Biebuyck on behalf of the Watson family.
    More Details Hide Details Biebuyck, who was also White’s lawyer at the time, passed a nine-point proposal to White.
    Despite his sacking as captain, Watson scored most tries (5) for the Stormers in the 2007 Super rugby season, only the second forward after Bobby Skinstad to achieve this accomplishment between 1998 and 2011.
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    In December 2007 new Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus replaced Watson with Springbok backline veteran Jean de Villiers as captain of the Stormers.
    More Details Hide Details Watson retained his place in the Stormers' team. Some commentators suggested that one reason why Watson was relieved of the captaincy was that his leadership skills had been criticized by various senior players. Earlier rumors in the press had suggested that Burger would replace Watson as captain for the 2008 Super 14 tournament. Reportedly the original decision was revisited after Erasmus met with Luke's father, Dan Watson, to discuss "the role that he Watson should play in the Stormers' side”. Dan Watson allegedly said "that he had no problem with Luke not captaining the side, provided Schalk Burger did not have a higher profile" than Luke. Erasmus was said to be concerned that Burger, despite his star status, should not be treated differently from his teammates. Previously Erasmus had opined that a good leader does not polarize opinion, and does not make waves or headlines.
    For example, Van der Merwe substituted Watson after 60 minutes of a Super 14 match in April 2007 while the Stormers were being heavily defeated by the Blue Bulls.
    More Details Hide Details Watson appeared confused while being substituted, and did not attend the post-match press conference. The following day Watson was still in the dark as to why he was substituted. Van der Merwe first said that he wanted to try a new combination as the match was already lost, but later told Watson that he wanted to rest him. According to some reporters the player and coach clashed in the dressing room after the match, but Watson denied that he and Van der Merwe had problems.
    The coach of the Stormers team in 2007, Kobus van der Merwe, appointed Watson as captain for their Super Rugby campaign.
    More Details Hide Details The relationship between coach and captain was not always straightforward.
    When Watson was finally selected as a Springbok in 2007 and was asked in media interviews to comment on his earlier public criticisms, he maintained that he stood by what he had said a year earlier.
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    Hoskins explained that he interfered in Watson's 2007 selection because "the relationship between the two was extremely strained for a very long time.
    More Details Hide Details It had gone past the breaking point and I felt the player was being prejudiced".
    Watson has been controversial due to his relationship with then-national coach Jake White, political interference in his selection for the 2007 Springbok team, interaction with the squad afterwards, and his comments in a speech.
    More Details Hide Details Watson told a public gathering on 3 October 2008 that he had to stop himself from vomiting when he wore the Springbok jersey, and referred to black players such as Zola Yeye who during apartheid had been excluded from national selection. The media suggested that Watson had also denigrated Afrikaner players and rugby officials in a question and answer session, although the transcript of the speech does not bear this out. Consequently, some South African rugby supporters and players (mostly Afrikaners) launched verbal attacks against Watson (often vehement and personal), Afrikaner rights groups like the Afrikanerbond sought his exclusion from rugby, and some spectators vocally expressed their disapproval whenever he played in South Africa. Watson has denied that he is against Afrikaners, pointing out that not only does he oppose all forms of discrimination but that he also has Afrikaner ancestors. He conceded in 2010 that he had been used as "a political pawn" and that he would have done things differently if he had the chance to do them over. He regretted attending the Springbok training camp in 2007, knowing that neither he, the squad, nor White wanted him to be there.
  • 2006
    Age 22
    After the non-selection controversy of 2006 and the politicised-selection controversy of 2007, Watson was firmly established in the media spotlight, and aspects of his behaviour now became subject to more media scrutiny than for other players.
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    White's public stance against shorter loose forwards was contradicted in November 2006 when he included Kabamba Floors for the Springbok squad against England in the place of an injured Pierre Spies.
    More Details Hide Details At 1.75m Floors is 9 cm shorter than Watson. White admitted at the time that his view that Floors also was too short had been incorrect. SARU president Oregan Hoskins, certain journalists and Watson himself at the time accused White of personal bias. For them, Watson's non-selection was due partly to the fact that his father Daniel "Cheeky" Watson was a former anti-apartheid activist, who alienated himself from the SA Rugby establishment by playing club rugby in the 'black' townships of Eastern Province at a time when this was illegal in terms of racist apartheid legislation. Watson claimed that Mike Howe, one of his coaches at Grey High School, had told him while he was still a student there that White had made derogatory comments about Watson. Cheeky Watson suggested that Howe had influenced White against Luke - a charge Howe denies. The elder Watson said that White, while the coach of the Under-21 national team, had told a South African Rugby Football Union before witnesses that he would not select Luke " 'because he would come with his father's baggage' ".
    He is a most overrated player.” By contrast McCaw described Watson in 2006 as "an excellent player" and "perhaps unlucky not to be part of the Springbok set-up".
    More Details Hide Details White repeatedly emphasised the need for tall loose-forwards who could add extra line-out options. Similar sentiments regarding stature, while not aimed at Watson specifically, had been expressed by other rugby pundits. Italy coach and former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has been a supporter of Watson. When asked in 2008 why in his opinion the Springboks won the 2007 World Cup, Mallett told an audience that the reason the Springboks won was because Schalk Burger is the smallest player in the Springboks' forward pack. Schalk Burger is 1,93m tall, while Watson is 1,84m. And in March 2008 SA Rugby Magazine quoted newly appointed Springbok coach Peter de Villiers as saying: “A small talented guy will always be better than a big untalented guy, and a big talented guy is better than a small talented guy. I will select the best player for the job.” After Jake White's preferred selections won the 2007 World Cup, England line-out specialist Ben Kay was quoted as saying: “Their line-out was fantastic and was a major difference between the two teams. They have been the best line-out in the world for many years and gave us enormous problems."
    Hoskins later said in an interview with Talk Radio 702 host John Robbie that he had added Watson because Watson was South Africa's 2006 Super 14 Player of the Year.
    More Details Hide Details Politicians such as Butana Komphela, ANC chairman of the parliamentary sports portfolio committee, and the then-Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, also insisted on Watson's inclusion. Rasool went so far as to say that Watson should be regarded as a "black player" based on his father's anti-apartheid contribution, and that he should therefore be included in the Springbok team ahead of "white players of equal talent". Jake White considered legal action if the SARU executive interfered further with his final team selection. However, White eventually accepted SARU's decision to include Watson in the Springboks. The senior players then refused to include him in the traditional initiation ceremony for newly capped players, due to the nepotistic manner of his selection.
    Rugby journalist Mark Keohane reported that on the morning of Monday 30 October 2006 Watson had been confirmed as the winner.
    More Details Hide Details But the decision was overturned later the same day and awarded to Free State loose forward Kabamba Floors. Players' Association chair Piet Heymans said that Floors had won by 8 votes when voting closed at 5pm on Monday. Heymans' assertion was placed in doubt when SARU revealed that the vote had actually been tied, and that SARU president Oregan Hoskins had cast the deciding vote in favour of Floors to break the deadlock. Keohane questioned why SARU's leadership became involved in what was the voting prerogative of players. He alleged that White and Hoskins had intervened when it appeared that Watson would win, and that in this context the Players' Association had demanded a recount. Keohane suggested that a joint award would have had precedent in that the Currie Cup had been shared among teams who were tied at the end of the season.
    Due to his good form in 2006, Watson was nominated for awards as the Players' Player of the Year, Super 14 Player of the Year, and Currie Cup Player of the Year.
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    By reaffirming his 2006 position after his 2007 selection, Watson may have breached the Springbok code of conduct according to which a player undertakes not to discredit or insult a Springbok team-mate.
    More Details Hide Details But a player makes this commitment to the code when senior teammates initiate new Springboks after their debut game, and Watson's teammates had refused to initiate him. In October 2008 White was said to have reconciled with Watson by shaking hands with him at a service of the Hillsong Church in Cape Town that both then attended. White was quoted as saying " 'I feel sorry for Luke and it is not for me to judge him.” White's actions were ascribed to his conversion to Christianity.
    Watson’s comments in the 2006 SA Sports Illustrated interview revealed his own negative feeling at the time towards White, captain John Smit and the squad.
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    White's accusation that Watson was divisive was no doubt supported by Watson’s public criticism of Jake White in a 2006 SA Sports Illustrated article.
    More Details Hide Details Watson accused White of a "lack of integrity", as White had "attacked Schalk Brits" for wanting to play professionally in England, yet he himself had "tried to hold SA Rugby to ransom with an overseas offer". Watson also questioned the credentials of captain John Smit and he said there was no longer any pride and passion in the Springbok squad. Watson reportedly said: "Obviously I would love to play for the Springboks, but I do not want to find myself in a position where I'm compromising my beliefs in equality, integrity and honour to achieve that goal."
    White dismissed the charge of bias in 2006, claiming that his reasons were purely rugby-related and that he had "no personal issues with anybody".
    More Details Hide Details Apart from his objections to what he perceived as Watson's limited skills and lack of stature, White implied that Watson was not a team player, and would have been a divisive influence on the Springbok team if selected.
    According to statistics compiled by the New Zealand company Verusco, Watson was the second best openside flanker in the 2006 Super 14 competition, preceded only by Richie McCaw and followed by Phil Waugh.
    More Details Hide Details Despite Watson’s form during that season, national coach Jake White again preferred 2004 IRB Player of the Year Burger over Watson, this time for the No. 6 position in the Springbok squad. At the time White stated that Watson offered limited options, and that South Africa had many quality loose forwards who offer more. White said in 2009 of Watson: "I don't think he's a good rugby player.
    Watson showed such good form in the 2006 Super 14 competition that he received that year's Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Tournament award.
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  • 2005
    Age 21
    Some believe that White's preference for Burger motivated Watson's 2005 move to Cape Town, where he could prove himself against Burger in the Western Province team.
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  • 2004
    Age 20
    By 2004 White was said to be against picking Burger and Watson in the same team, Although he had had shown "sensational form" in 2004, Watson was again ignored by White and selectors Andre Markgraaff and Pieter Jooste in favour of Solly Tyibilika, who had lost his position to Watson at the Sharks during the season.
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    Watson expected to play out the remainder of his Sharks contract in the Currie Cup until the Stormers' started their Super rugby training in December 2004.
    More Details Hide Details Instead, he was released on the same day as he made his announcement. Both Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl and coach Kevin Putt indicated that they preferred to work with players who had a long-term commitment to the team. Watson was left without a professional home base for the remaining three months of the Currie Cup season. He spent the time with his parents in Port Elizabeth to recuperate from injuries and prepare for upcoming season. Meanwhile, he joined local club SK Walmers which had strong ties to the black community and his family. In 2005 Watson moved to Cape Town where he played for both the Western Province Currie Cup and Stormers Super rugby sides. His home club was Schotsekloof Walmers Rugby Football Club. Coach Gert Smal included Watson in his Super 12 training camp at Somerset-West in January, and in the team for their warm-up games against Boland and Welsh side Gwent Dragons.
    While he was still under contract to the Sharks, his terms were to expire at the end of 2004.
    More Details Hide Details During the Currie Cup season Watson was rumored to be seeking to represent the Stormers in the 2005 Super 12 season, and by 30 August the Stormers had offered him a contract. On 14 September Watson publicly announced that he had signed with the Stormers, despite efforts by the Sharks' management to retain his services.
    Watson's good form during the 2004 Super 12 season made him a recruiting target for professional teams.
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    Watson was selected in 2004 to represent South Africa in the IRB's Under 21 Rugby World Championship in a team that included Andries Bekker, Bryan Habana and Wynand Olivier.
    More Details Hide Details Coached by Peter de Villiers, the team beat Australia 44-10 to finish third. Watson later credited former Springbok and national coach Michael du Plessis as the person (apart from his father) who had the greatest influence on his playing abilities early on. His parents asked Du Plessis to help develop a teenage Watson in Port Elizabeth. A reporter claimed that "within two seconds" Du Plessis taught young Watson "more about running lines than other coaches could do in two years".
  • TEENAGE
  • 2003
    Age 19
    In 2003 coach Jake White chose Schalk Burger and omitted Watson for the South African under-21 team that won the world championship.
    More Details Hide Details White suggested that Watson switch to hooker instead where he could reach the highest echelons, as Watson did not have the requisite attributes to be a first-class flank. White's suggestions may have been prompted by his own experience, when as a youth player he had to switch from flank to hooker because he was too short. White reportedly insisted that "Watson would never make a side he coached".
    The 2003 Currie Cup season started badly for Watson, who had contracted tick-bite fever and was forced to miss the Sharks' first warm-up game in July.
    More Details Hide Details He was replaced by Solly Tyibilika, newly arrived in Durban from the. Watson then injured his leg, and Tyibilika retained his place for subsequent games against the Eagles and Griquas. During the season Watson was switched from flank to eighthman five times, anticipating where coaches would use him later at the Stormers and Bath. In the Currie Cup final against the Bulls which the Sharks lost 19-40, Watson replaced Brad McLeod-Henderson in the 54 minute of the match. He was not nominated for any category in the end-of-season awards, despite a reporter calling him "the country's top rookie loose-forward".
    By June 2003 he had signed up with rugby agent Jason Smith's World Artists, who represented South African players such as Victor Matfield and Clyde Rathbone locally and abroad.
    More Details Hide Details Sharks Coach Kevin Putt included Watson in the team that won 32-19 against a weakened Harlequins at the Stoop in London on 2 February. At the start of the Super 12 season Watson was hailed by Sharks fitness coach Kevin Stevenson as the fittest among the Shark forwards while also able to bench-press "1.6 times his body weight" and complete 29 pull-ups. He made the squad for what would have been his Super 12 debut on 21 February against a Stormers side that included "two of the best fetchers in South Africa, Corné Krige en Hendrik Gerber". But Watson did not play in the game, as his inclusion had been part of Putt's failed ruse to mislead his opponents. Watson made his actual Super 12 debut came against the Brumbies, at 19 the youngest player in the Super 12 that year. His direct opponent was flank George Smith, regarded as "one of the best fetchers in the world". Smith had been Watson's hero while he was a schoolboy at Grey. Watson's performance was excellent, according to Putt, who claimed that he and forwards coach John Allan had only recently taught Watson the finer arts of being a fetcher.
    Watson relocated to Durban in 2003 where he represented the Sharks in the Currie Cup and the in the Super 12 competitions.
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    Despite speculation that he would be selected for the Springbok squad in 2003, national coach Rudolf Straeuli overlooked Watson for tests against Scotland and Australia.
    More Details Hide Details The national selectors did include him in the South African A-team that faced Argentina A at Wellington on 25 June.
  • 2002
    Age 18
    By the end of the 2002 season Watson was called "promising" and "one of the most exciting young ball fetchers in the country", and by November he was being actively sought by the Durban-based Sharks.
    More Details Hide Details Watson revealed that while he would have preferred to stay with Eastern Province, they had offered him a small contract which had not yet been confirmed. He felt that Eastern Province's reluctance was due to his father having stood against and narrowly lost to George Davids for election as president of the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union.
    In 2002 Watson was included in the Eastern Province under-21 team before progressing to the senior squad.
    More Details Hide Details During round one of the Currie Cup Watson was included in the Elephants' first match against the Pumas on 20 July after impressing coach Allister Coetzee with his speed and work rate in the warm-up game against Boland. Watson played alongside experienced players like Paul Treu, who had already represented the Emerging Springboks, and Barry Pinnock, who had played more than 150 times for Eastern Province. Despite having won seven consecutive games prior to the 2002 season, the Elephants lost all but one of their 6 first round games. In one of these, against the SWD Eagles on 24 August, Watson was "involved in too many incidents off the ball to be of much value to his team". He scored his "first try at senior level" in the match against the Leopards on 7 September. Watson was included in the team that pulled off an unlikely round one victory against unbeaten log leaders the Bulls on 14 September.
    Watson was selected for the South African Sevens team that played at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, replacing Marius Schoeman who withdrew due to a broken arm.
    More Details Hide Details Coached by Chester Williams and managed by Rob Louw, the team placed third. Watson and teammate Jean de Villiers impressed former England international Matt Dawson as potential future Springboks for the 15-aside format.
    In 2002 Watson was chosen to captain South Africa's under-19 team at the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy.
    More Details Hide Details The team had three weeks to prepare and beat Chili (48-3) in their first game and England (17-8) on their way to a semifinal in Milan which they lost 41-9 to New Zealand, the eventual champions. The IRB commended Watson for representing the spirit of the competition in being well-spoken and without pretense. Watson told a reporter that it was an honour to be part of Springbok history. He added, "for my Dad, Cheeky Watson, it is a dream come true. He is very proud that his son plays for a unified South African team".
  • 2001
    Age 17
    In October 2001 he was one of five nominees for the Craven Week Player of the Tournament, which was awarded to Derick Hougaard.
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    In 2001 Watson was chosen as captain of the South African Schools team that played the French under-18 team twice.
    More Details Hide Details The SA Schools side, which included Bismarck du Plessis and Derick Hougaard won the first match in Cape Town 36-15. In the second clash at Loftus Versfeld, which was drawn 23-23, Watson "played well" and scored a try.
    He was invited to a training camp in March 2001 but was not selected for the national under-19 team that participated in the Junior World Championship in Santiago, Chile.
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  • 2000
    Age 16
    Watson was selected for the South African Academy side in 2000 that beat the South African Schools side that year.
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    With his cousin, Daniel, Luke Watson represented the Eastern Province XV at the 2000 Craven Week.
    More Details Hide Details Aged 16, he scored a try in their 21-all draw against Griqualand-West, and was in the Eastern Province schools team that played in a curtain raiser for the test between South Africa and Canada on 10 June. In July 2001 he was back at the Craven Week where he impressed in Eastern Province's 15-17 loss against a Blue Bulls side.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1986
    Age 2
    His father had joined the African National Congress in 1978 and had helped to hide cadres from the secret police, who burnt down his home in 1986 as well as his business.
    More Details Hide Details Luke Watson was ostracized by other students and someone wrote "Kill the Watsons" on his desk. When his father was imprisoned his mother, Tracey, hid this from him. He learnt about racism and apartheid from his father, and wanted to represent the change that his father had worked for. Watson played rugby at Grey High School where he was coached from Grade 10 onwards by Mike Howe. Howe first switched Watson from eighthman to openside flank. Later Howe favourably remembered Watson's ball-fetching skills from rucks and his motivational abilities, but said that at the time his organisational skills "let him down". In Grade 12 Watson captained Grey High's First XV. He organized a strike of the team after objections were raised that he had abused his position as captain. During his final year of high school Watson told his principal, Roy Simpson, that he was resigning as prefect. Some claim that Watson's resignation was due to his loyalty to "the wrong crowd", while his father maintained it was because the younger Watson had objected to "autocratic leadership" at the school. Despite his actions, Watson was given the Headmaster's Leadership award that year.
  • 1983
    Born
    Born on October 26, 1983.
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