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‘Great buzz in Wales camp,’ says Davies

‘Great buzz in Wales camp,’ says Davies

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Jonathan Davies has revealed his rugby motivation is stronger than ever after he recovered from a knee injury which left his rugby career in the balance.

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Centre Davies, 32, has 81 caps for Wales and has started all of the last six Tests for the British & Irish Lions across two tours in 2013 and 2017.

In the World Cup pool stage clash with Fiji in Japan last year, Davies suffered a knee injury which meant he missed Wales’ quarter-final win over France.

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He recovered to play in the semi-final and bronze medal match defeats by South Africa and New Zealand, but was forced into surgery when he returned from the Far East.

“The uncertainty going into the surgery and not knowing what the outcome would be was the hardest thing to deal with,” said Davies, who has dealt with several serious injuries over the years. “The type of surgery I had meant there was a waiting game.  I had to keep my knee dead straight for 12 weeks and at that point, I had a scan to see how the surgery went.

“Once I knew at the 12-week mark the surgery was a success, it was a relief. The work I put in during those first 12 was really important because there was a risk the injury could have ended my career.

“I made sure I did everything possible and thankfully we got a good result. I think that was down to a bit of luck, but a lot of it was also down to the work you put in away from rugby.”

Davies was told by Wales’ medical team before the 19-16 semi-final loss to South Africa he was risking his playing future by taking to the field. It was a gamble Davies felt comfortable with despite admitting he was on “one and a half” legs for the last two games of the tournament.

“I was told if I played the semi there was a risk of not finishing my career. It was worth the risk. I made that decision,” he said. “I felt capable enough of going out there and giving a performance.

“It was heavily strapped and I was in pain, but the hard work put in by the medical team to get me right to go out and play meant I was able to do that.

“It was tough going those last few games, but it was something you do.”

Asked how he would have felt if he’d been forced to quit, Davies added: “It would have been tough hearing that, but I’ve been extremely fortunate. Rugby has been very kind to me and I’ve had some amazing experiences. With the fortunate situation I’m in, I could have just about taken that.

“It was almost another challenge for me to then say ‘This isn’t going to stop me. I am going to come back from this.’ It did start a fire in me to keep pushing and striving to come back and play.”

Davies has now returned to action and he made his first appearance in nearly 12 months for the Scarlets in a pre-season friendly with Welsh rivals Ospreys in September.

He has since played in Guinness PRO14 defeats to Munster and Glasgow with his recovery aided by a switch to a Mediterranean diet.

After having to sit motionless for 12 weeks while he waited to see if his knee would heal and he could resume playing, Davies counts himself lucky to be a part of Wales’ squad for their upcoming autumn campaign and hopes to play a part with six games ahead for Wayne Pivac’s side.

“The brand of rugby was good to watch during the Six Nations so I am excited to be part of the squad. There are still some old faces so the balance is great,” Davies said.

“Obviously the brand of rugby we want to play is similar to what we did at the Scarlets, but there are a lot of differences between regional and Test rugby. So it’s about adapting to that and making sure everyone is comfortable as you don’t have as much time in Test rugby.

“There is a great buzz in and around the camp.”

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