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James Davies Insists Wayne Pivac Era Will Bring Excitement For Wales

James Davies insists the future starts on Friday for Wales as he looks ahead to a new coaching era under Wayne Pivac and Stephen Jones.

Davies has been picked to start against New Zealand in the World Cup third-place play-off match as one of the last selection acts of Warren Gatland before his final match as head coach.

The flanker is one of nine changes to the side that lost the semi-final to South Africa on Sunday.

The transfer of power will take place afterwards with Pivac coming in, assisted by Stephen Jones who has already got his feet under the table in this tournament after replacing Rob Howley as backs coach.

Davies knows both Picav and Jones well from his time under their direction with the Scarlets and says: “You have to move on and it’s exciting times ahead for Welsh rugby with new coaches.

“This has been brilliant for Steve to get a bit of a head start with the players and all the staff. He’s been fantastic.

“I’ve worked with him in the past and I can’t wait to keep working with him if I’m selected in squads going forward. On a personal and squad level, and Welsh rugby level, it’s really exciting times.

“Wayne gave me my opportunity at the Scarlets. I’m excited to see how well he does when we get back. I’m sure he’ll relish it and do really well.

“I haven’t worked with Warren as much as most but when I have, he has been brilliant. He’s a good coach and you just look at this success. People have questioned him in the past but he’s always delivered.”

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Davies admitted the defeat against South Africa at the semi-final stage was crushing as they looked to end Gatland’s reign with a World Cup title.

“It’s been tough for a few days but sometimes perspective is a good thing. It’s a game of rugby at the end of the day and there are bigger things.

“You look at Tokyo this month and there were deaths from the typhoon, so for me perspective is very humbling.”

When told by Gatland he would be starting the pool game against Fiji for his World Cup bow, Davies replied that the Wales head coach had “finally seen the light”.

“No joke this time,” he said, ahead of the bronze medal match against the All Blacks at Tokyo Stadium. “I didn’t think it was the right week for it after the weekend.”

“I’ve been patient with selection as our back row have been outstanding all tournament. It’s great to get a chance to start, and hopefully we can put in a performance in the final one.

“We’ve trained as a group for five months and it’s the last one we’re going to have together so it’s ‘balls out’, as they say, to see if we can get a win.

“This is not the game we wanted to be playing in but this is how the cards have been dealt. We are back training now and everyone is excited about the opportunity that we’ve got against New Zealand.

“I saw something the other day that we haven’t beaten them for 66 years so it’s a chance to create history. It would be in a different way than we wanted to but it’s another chance to give something to the fans back home to relish.”


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