Get to know the latest rising back-row star in Wales – Dan Davis
Scarlets and Wales U20 back-row Dan Davis
Date of birth 17 September 1998 Born Oxford Region Scarlets Country Wales Position Back-row
When 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 are 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.
What are 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.
RW VERDICT: 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.
This article originally appeared in the December 2018 edition of Rugby World.
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