Amos & Co can’t be­lieve Davies is not award con­tender

Western Mail - - SPORT - Andy How­ell Rugby cor­re­spon­dent andy.how­ell@waleson­line.co.uk

HAL­LAM Amos spoke for the Wales camp when he ex­pressed his sur­prise Lionk­ing Jonathan Davies didn’t make World Rugby’s short-list for its top award.

War­ren Gat­land’s squad and man­age­ment was baf­fled the cen­tre, who was Bri­tish and Ir­ish rugby’s of­fi­cial player of the se­ries dur­ing the drawn Test se­ries with world cham­pi­ons New Zealand a few months ago, wasn’t among the five nom­i­nees to be world player of the year.

Eng­land pair Owen Far­rell and Maro Itoje, who failed to make Gat­land’s Lions start­ing line-up for the open­ing Test with the Blacks, Kiwi pair Beau­den Bar­rett and Rieko Ioane and Aus­tralia’s Is­rael Fo­lau were se­lected by a panel of for­mer rugby stars with the win­ner to be an­nounced at a gala din­ner in Monaco on Novem­ber 26.

Davies has had a golden year, hit­ting form in the Six Na­tions and be­ing a lead­ing light as the Scar­lets ran their way to the Guin­ness PRO12 ti­tle.

And he was the Lions’ best at­tacker and de­fen­sive rock as they de­fied the pun­dits and pub­lic ex­pec­ta­tion to tie the se­ries 1-1 with the All Blacks af­ter win­ning the sec­ond Test and draw­ing the de­cider.

But the panel as­sem­bled by World Rugby failed to see it the same way and the 29-year-old, who will miss the re­main­der of the au­tumn Test se­ries and next year’s Six Na­tions af­ter need­ing surgery on the com­pli­cated foot in­jury he suf­fered dur­ing the 29-21 loss to Aus­tralia in Cardiff at the week­end, didn’t make the short-list.

“In­jury is part and par­cel of rugby but it was gut­ting for him. He’s come off a strong year and was un­lucky not to be nom­i­nated for world player of the year,” de­clared Davies’ Wales team-mate Amos.

“He’s been on fire for us, the Lions and the Scar­lets,” pointed out the wing or full-back, be­fore pre­dict­ing: “He’s a strong in­di­vid­ual who I’m sure he will come back even stronger.”

Amos dived over for a spec­tac­u­lar touch­down against Aus­tralia af­ter hav­ing one ruled out against them in the same corner a year ear­lier.

But he con­fided: “It was nice to get a try but it wasn’t one of the most im­por­tant I’ve scored.

“It re­ally showed it’s a game of inches be­cause last year I was in touch and this time I wasn’t. I thought I had got the ball down but I was con­scious I may have been in touch so didn’t cel­e­brate too much.

“You want to score tries. The prob­lem with wing is there’s al­ways some young­ster com­ing through and, if they have got pace, will al­ways be talked about but it’s great for the team there’s com­pe­ti­tion for places.

“St­eff Evans has been on fire this year and we have got four Lions fight­ing to get in the back three when every­one is fit. That drives stan­dards. Come game-time you have to play well or you may not get picked again.”

It was the Wal­la­bies’ 13th win in a row over Wales, with Amos ac­knowl­edg­ing: “It wasn’t the re­sult we wanted.

“It was a shame we couldn’t break the spell Aus­tralia hold over us but we are go­ing into this week­end against Georgia con­fi­dent there’s a good game-plan in place. We were quite pos­i­tive af­ter the game on Satur­day.

“We have tried to play with width for a few years. It helps hav­ing Owen Wil­liams, who is a No.10, at inside cen­tre be­cause he has got great vi­sion. We saw ele­ments of that against Aus­tralia.

“There was def­i­nitely the shoots of a new sys­tem com­ing in. It’s bet­ter for back-three play­ers. The likes of St­eff and Liam Wil­liams had their hands on the ball a bit more, which is what we want to see.”

Wales face a Georgia team that thrashed Kings­ley Jones’ Canada last week­end at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium on Satur­day with Tests to fol­low against New Zealand and South Africa.

“Georgia get a bad rap with peo­ple talk­ing about their big pack but they also have some good play­ers along their back-line and bring a kick­ing game,” warned 12-times capped Amos.

“They scored off a cross-kick against Canada. It will be a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge to Aus­tralia but we can’t take them lightly and we will def­i­nitely go in fully fo­cused to fol­low our sys­tems.

“It was the same with Uruguay at the 2015 World Cup. It was their World Cup fi­nal and this will be the same for Georgia.

“Play­ing at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium will be an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for them. They will be re­ally fired up and we have to deal with that.

“We don’t want to still be in a dog­fight at 60 min­utes. A good start will be a key for us. It’s a mas­sive game.

“I think there will be a few changes this week but we can’t let the oc­ca­sion get to few of our in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.”

The 23-year-old, who is half-way through a nine-year course to be­come a doc­tor, has just fin­ished do­ing neu­rol­ogy and psy­chi­a­try at Cardiff’s Univer­sity of Wales Hos­pi­tal.

But he’s un­able to work out which po­si­tion Wales coach War­ren Gat­land sees him set­tling down in, whether it’s at wing, full-back or cen­tre, where he played as a young­ster.

“Full-back is prob­a­bly still my favourite po­si­tion but I don’t know long-term where the guys at the top see me,” said Amos.

> Hal­lam Amos touched down for his late try against Aus­tralia on Satur­day

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