Gareth Davies Has England On A Loop . . . And Scores When He Wants

Gareth Davies will run through his own showreel before he returns to Twickenham on Saturday – just to remind himself how good it feels to beat England.

The Wales scrum-half will allow himself an indulgent re-run of his match-turning moment against the old enemy during the 2015 World Cup.

The Scarlets No.9 – the form scrum-half in Europe this season – scored a stunning try eight minutes from time at Twickenham to put Wales in touching distance of toppling the World Cup hosts.

His half-back partner Dan Biggar’s penalty shortly afterwards sealed a 28-25 win and England ultimately suffered a demoralising pool stage exit.

Davies will be back at Twickenham on Saturday as one of only three starting XV survivors from that late September evening – centre Scott Williams and lock Alun Wyn Jones are the others – with England once again in his sights.

And at some point before the weekend, Davies will head to a laptop at Wales’ training retreat in the Vale of Glamorgan countryside and watch the game once more.

“It’s a big part of my homework, to look back on previous games against them,” he said. “I will do that this week.

“I will look back at that game in the World Cup and other games in the Six Nations to see if I can pick up any traits.

“We’ve got laptops in our team room. Everything is on the server there so we can look at whatever we want – any game you can think of is available on there.

“It (2015 game) is just a reminder and a little confidence-boost, isn’t it? It’s good to look back at when we were successful.

“I swapped shirts with (England scrum-half) Ben Youngs that day, so I’ve got his shirt hanging up in my house. There are a couple of photos floating about, too.

“The atmosphere was amazing, full house, 80,000-odd, a packed stadium with a lot of Welsh fans there. That helped us a lot towards the end as we had to grind out the win.

“It’s one of the favourite moments in my career so far. There are others up there – winning the league with the Scarlets last year, that famous (European Champions Cup) win against Bath a few weeks ago. But that try in the World Cup is up there.”

Davies’ 60-metre interception try set the ball rolling for Wales when they pummelled Scotland 34-7 in last Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations opener, but title holders England away from home represents a tougher challenge.

They are unbeaten at Twickenham in the Six Nations since Wales toppled them six years ago, and while Davies acknowledges the degree of difficulty, he is also relishing another tilt at England’s finest.

And that will also mean a probable scrum-half battle with Danny Care, who looks set to replace Youngs after the Leicester number nine suffered a season-ending knee injury on Six Nations duty in Italy three days ago.

“He is a world-class scrum-half,” Davies added. “He is a very good player and a very big attacking threat.

“We are going to have to be switched on. When he puts his hands on the ball, we will be expecting all sorts of things from him.

“England are one of the form teams in the world and we are expecting a massive challenge. It should be a cracking game.”

Should Davies need a further confidence boost, however, there is still other evidence to hand. Not only has he scored 10 tries in 28 Tests for Wales, but he has also now reached 43 for the Scarlets in 165 matches.

He will also be partnered at half-back by his Scarlets teammate Rhys Patchell, who made such a self-assured international debut start against Scotland last week.

“We work together day-in, day-out at the Scarlets and coming in to this Wales environment is very similar,” said Davies.

“Of course, it is a lot more intense and there is a lot more pressure on us to perform. Rhys [Patchell] is a fantastic outside half. We’ve been playing together for the last couple of seasons and to have Scotty [Williams] and Hadleigh [Parkes] together in the centres is working well.

“It was quite funny. We had a couple of Scarlets calls off the top of our heads at the weekend just by accident, but we all reacted to them. We didn’t even flinch. We were on the same page and we just got on with it.”

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