CATALOGUE OF WOE, BUT CUBBY KEEPS IT IN PERSPECTIVE
JAMES Davies had the world at this feet last June following back-to-back man-of-the-match performances as Wales beat Argentina.
But the 28-year-old flanker has only made eight appearances this season for the Scarlets following a catalogue of injuries and missed this weekend’s clash with Zebre through another knock.
You’d expect any player, even somebody as laid back as the 2016 Rio Olympics Sevens silver medallist, to be angry at their misfortune.
But not ‘Cubby Boi’, who is one of Welsh rugby’s biggest characters.
He’s philosophical about the hand he has been dealt this campaign, saying: “You can look at it two ways.
“You can look at it as if it’s the end of the world but I feel perspective is massive.
“You have got people going out fighting for our country and you have got people getting diagnosed with serious illnesses.
“When you think you have hurt a joint in your body but all you are doing is missing a few games, it puts it all into perspective.
“It is frustrating and you are gutted but it’s what the sport is, the contact and stuff is so horrific at the minute when you look at the size of players.
“You are going out there knowing at any time you could be in hospital and going under the knife. It’s just part and parcel of sport.
“I don’t think we at the Scarlets have come close this season to putting out our first XV because of injuries. It’s not just the back row, it’s been different positions all year.
“The second rows have taken a hit as well but that’s no excuse really. We have worked hard to build good depth in the squad.”
And he was typically honest about the Scarlets’ campaign, saying: “I don’t think we have performed to our capability.
“It’s been a disappointing season with injuries but there’s no excuses, we haven’t performed like we know we can and we think we should. That’s the end of it really.”
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac succeeds Warren Gatland as Wales head honcho following the World Cup.
Some feel that may improve Davies’ prospects of playing for Wales, but he’s not so sure.
“I don’t know about better chance,” he said. “Wayne will have a better idea of what I’m like in the environment compared to what maybe Gatland had thought I would have been like.
“If he likes it he has that perspective where I guess Gatland didn’t, so I suppose maybe.
“But I’m not even thinking that far down the line. I can’t get three games together at the minute. I’m just trying to nurse my body into playing condition.
“It’s been frustrating, one of those years where I haven’t been able to get a good run of games because of injuries.”
Davies was disappointed to miss James Davies and Wayne Pivac embrace after a Champions Cup victory over Toulon. out on a chance to play for Wales last autumn or in the Six Nations because of his injury woes.
But he said: “You take your hat off to them, they were fantastic both campaigns, especially Six Nations.
“When you pick up momentum it’s hard to stop. You could see in that Ireland game nothing was going to beat them.
“When you keep winning it becomes a habit. You just don’t lose and they have built that up and it has shown on the pitch.”
He hopes to be picked for Wales’ summer camps ahead of the World Cup, but admitted: “It’s just something in the back of my mind at the minute.
“I’m just more concerned about getting a few games under my belt and just getting fit.
“I just want to play. That’s the fun part and what I enjoy. This year I haven’t been able to do that.”
Davies praised the work of Pivac at the Scarlets, saying: “He gave me my first chance. If it wasn’t for him, I might not have had my chance. He’s been huge. I think my personality suits the way he likes to coach and manage players.
“It’s just been a good fit for me. He’s brought the team together. When you look at it, there are quite a few different characters and he’s worked out how to manage that, which is a skill in itself. He’s been brilliant.
“Being a good man-manager is one of his best traits, I would say. He works with and is on a personal level with everyone. He knows how boys tick and how to manage them.
“How we have finished is a disappointment because he brought us together as a group. It’s not the way we wanted to close the last chapter.
“It’s important we give him a good send-off because what he’s done here has been quite tremendous when you look at what we have achieved over the last few years.”
Pivac will be succeeded at the Scarlets by Brad Mooar, who is the attack coach of Super Rugby champions Crusaders but has never been a head honcho at professional level.
“It’s disappointing to see our coaches leave because we have done good things since they have been here but it’s also exciting,” said Davies.
“You are taking away a good team of coaches but also bringing in a good new one.
“It’s going to be fun. A lot of the boys will feel it’s going to be a fresh start again.
“It’s a new challenge and a clean slate for all the players. You have got James Davies leaves the field injured against Benetton earlier this season. to earn your spot again. If that doesn’t excite you, not much will as a rugby player.”