RIS­ING STARS DAN 1 D AV I S

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW - In­ter­views Sarah Mock­ford // Pic­tures Huw Evans Agency & In­pho

hen did you move to Wales? When I was four. My par­ents are English but moved be­cause of my dad’s work. I feel Welsh, not English. As soon as I started play­ing rugby I’d sup­port Wales any day. When did you first play? I was about eight at Llan­deilo. My dad used to play foot­ball but rugby is the big­gest sport in Wales and I fan­cied play­ing for a club. I loved it. I worked my way through all the age grades, then Scar­lets U16 and U18, then the na­tional team, U18 and U20. Did you play any other sports? I played a lot of foot­ball and was in the Cardiff City Academy set-up. I played cen­tre-back and a bit in mid­field as well.

When I was about 13 I had to choose rugby or foot­ball, and I en­joy rugby more. At a young age, it’s eas­ier to stick to some­thing you love. What po­si­tions have you played? Mostly in the back row. I played a lot for Llan­deilo in the cen­tre as we were short of num­bers, but when I started with Scar­lets U16 they pre­ferred me as a back-row.

I think cen­tre was good for me, though. I picked up han­dling skills, more aware­ness… it helped me. Is open­side your favourite po­si­tion? Yes, seven is the po­si­tion I love. I love the in­volve­ments you have, es­pe­cially with the way

Scar­lets play as back-rows

Ware used in the wide chan­nels. You get a lot of ball in space. I love the de­fence as­pect too, the con­tact and jack­ling. When did you link up with Scar­lets?

I was play­ing for Scar­lets U16 when I got a Wales U16 call-up. Af­ter that Kevin Ge­orge from the Scar­lets called and they wanted to sign me on a five-year deal. I was chuffed. There was no hes­i­ta­tion. You’ve made your Pro14 de­but this sea­son. How have you found it? It’s a lot faster and more phys­i­cal, but I love it. I was quite ner­vous at first be­cause I didn’t ex­pect to be this in­volved this sea­son.

Your goals go­ing for­ward? I just want to keep play­ing well and take those op­por­tu­ni­ties. If I’m not in the first team and play­ing for Scar­lets A, I still want to keep per­form­ing.

Are you study­ing away from rugby? Yes, sports sci­ence at Swansea Univer­sity. It’s hard to juggle. At the mo­ment I’m full-time and I’m go­ing to see how I man­age. If it gets too stress­ful, I’ll go part-time.

Age

20 (17 Septem­ber 1998)

Davis made his Scar­lets de­but as a teenager and is likely to fea­ture a lot this sea­son given the re­gion’s in­jury woes. He’s shown a lot of prom­ise and could add fur­ther depth to Wales’ im­pres­sive back-row re­sources.

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