The Welsh scrum-half has been an outstanding and near permanent presence for a Saracens team on the cusp of yet another English crown. Find out more about him…
Inside the mind of Saracens’ Aled Davies
A year after winning promotion back to the top flight, Saracens go into this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final against Leicester as favourites to pick up their sixth English title.
At the nub of the team is Welsh scrum-half Aled Davies, who was praised recently by boss Mark McCall for the speed with which he has slotted in at the North London club.
“He has been incredible this year. He is everything you need from a scrum-half – his passing and his speed between breakdowns is as good as I’ve seen,” McCall said. “He’s an incredibly tough competitor and he kicks the ball beautifully as well.”
Davies, 29, has 20 Wales caps but for now has sacrificed further Test honours as only those with 60 caps or more are eligible for Welsh selection if playing outside the Principality.
We caught up with the Bronwydd-born No 9 for an article published in our July 2022 issue…
What have you enjoyed most about life at Sarries?
“Just the environment. How professional the environment is but also how much fun and camaraderie we have. As a group and as an organisation.”
Have you had to adapt your game at the club?
“No, not necessarily. They sign players who fit into the mould of Saracens. You’re constantly trying to get better, as you do.”
Box-kicking is arguably your biggest strength, as it was with Richard Wigglesworth before you…
“My kicking game is a strong part of my game. It was strong before coming here but it’s probably got even better. The consistency and variation of it. They use the nine a lot to kick so I suppose it has to be. But I’m my own player and have different attributes to Wiggy.”
Are you working on anything in particular?
“At the minute I’m just constantly working on a bit of everything. On my kicking, my passing, my running game. Constantly fine-tuning everything.”
Do you think Wales’ 60-cap rule should be scrapped?
“Yeah. They brought the rule in for a reason but I think in some scenarios it doesn’t really work. Especially my scenario. I think I’m better off playing my rugby here, not back in Wales, just because of the environment. We’re constantly playing in big games and the group of players we’ve got here is just unbelievable really.
“So for me personally I’m loving it here. I still want to play for Wales. Everyone wants to play for their country, so it would be nice.”
Who were your childhood heroes?
“The main one was Dwayne Peel. When I was young he was the Scarlets and Wales nine. So he was one I looked towards. And then a bit later it was Mike Phillips, he was aggressive and he’s from the same local club (Whitland) as me. So those two players.”
Do you have a nickname?
“The boys call me Alan. Because every English person, when they ask my name and I say Aled, they go back ‘Alan?’ So it stuck.”
You’re an ambassador for the Encephalitis Society. Can you tell us about that?
“Encephalitis is a rare brain injury which my dad was diagnosed with ten years ago now. He passed away a few years later. So it’s something close to my heart and something I want to get behind. There is money going into research and they’re trying to raise awareness.”
You played a season in the RFU Championship. Would you like to see that continue in its current format, with promotion to the Premiership?
“It’s a good competition. I think you could get a lot more young boys from the (Premiership) clubs playing in it. It would be good to blood more young English players.”
What are your favourite sports other than rugby?
“I’m a big fan of football and cricket. I’m a Liverpool fan. If I could have a ticket to any sports event I’d watch Liverpool in the Champions League final.”
What’s the best sports event you’ve been to a spectator?
“The Leinster-Northampton European Cup final in the Millennium Stadium (2011). Northampton were away ahead and Leinster came back.”
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
“I was brought up on a farm and my parents would get me to muck out the cow shed. I didn’t mind it but it’s not very glamorous! We had beef cattle and sheep.”
How did you get into rugby?
“I started playing when I was about ten. I played football and then we had a tournament at primary school and my mates were big into rugby and said I should play rugby. Then I joined Carmarthen Athletic rugby club, and later Whitland, when I was about 13 or 14. I’ve always been a scrum-half.”
What’s your favourite film?
“Law Abiding Citizen. With Gerard Butler.”
Food wise, what’s your guilty pleasure?
“Indian food. I’m a big Indian fan. Getting the poppadums in. And a pint of Kingfisher.”
Is it true you got married on the first day without restrictions after the Covid rules were relaxed in Wales?
“Yes, I married Kirsty on 7 August 2021. We had booked the wedding two years in advance and it was perfect. It was at Fairyhill in the Gower, and Scott Williams was my best man – I’ve played with him since I was about 14 or 15. I have a stepdaughter, Maggie, who’s 11, and a son Freddie, who’s four. He’s not really into sports at the minute, he loves his bugs!”
Do you know what you want to when you stop playing?
“I haven’t really thought much about it. I’ll probably go into a bit of coaching maybe. I’ve done my Level Two coaching course. I’ve done a little bit with the women’s scrum-halves at Saracens, and a bit with youngsters back in the day.”
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