Jonathan Davies last played for Wales against France in the 2022 Six Nations match in Cardiff
Jonathan Davies last played for Wales against France in the 2022 Six Nations match in Cardiff

Centre Jonathan Davies says it was tough to miss Wales’ summer tour to South Africa and he hopes to play in the World Cup in France next year.

The Scarlets captain, 34, expressed his disappointment in a conversation with head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It was tough, I felt I was playing pretty well towards the back end of last year,” said Davies.

“Wayne and I had a conversation and he gave his reasons to me and I explained where I felt I sat.”

Davies is hoping to add to his 96 Wales caps, with his six British and Irish Lions Test appearances taking his current tally to more than 100 internationals.

He was left out by Pivac with George North and Nick Tompkins forming the first-choice centre partnership backed up by Owen Watkin and Davies’ fellow Scarlet Johnny Williams.

he still hopes to play in a third World Cup having played important roles in the 2011 and 2019 sides – who both reached the semi-finals – but missed the 2015 tournament through injury.

“I would love to go to another World Cup,” added Davies.

“I feel as if I can still offer something, but first and foremost my form for Scarlets has to be at a very high level.

“That’s the goal and the standards I have set. I want to be playing well week in, week out and hopefully that form will take care of itself for selection for the national squad.

“If it isn’t, it isn’t. I am just going to make sure I am playing well for Scarlets.”

Wales have looked to play Davies at 12 in recent times, including in their 2021 Six Nations success.

Davies has made his name as a 13, with Scarlets having Scott and Johnny Williams playing at inside centre.

“There are some variations, but they are pretty similar,” added Davies.

“If you play a certain way, it should not determine or be put in a box on this is how you should play in this jersey.

“There are other aspects expected of you or how the team might want their 12 to play, whether that be in momentum or gainline or whether he is a ball player.

“It does vary, but defence is probably where the biggest difference might be. At 13 you have to have a good link with your wings, whereas at 12 your connection with 10 is more important.”

Jonathan Davies at the official launch of the 2022-23 United Rugby Championship
Jonathan Davies at the official launch of the 2022-23 United Rugby Championship

Davies overcame his summer disappointment and was able to have an extended break, which included a summer holiday in the Rocky Mountains.

“I would have loved to have gone on tour, but I maximised the opportunity to look after myself and get away and recharge,” said Davies.

“It is the first time I have not toured or been injured for a long time so it was quite refreshing.

“It was about trying to maximise the time, get away and switch off and don’t think about rugby, and I was able to move on and refocus quickly.”

Then came yet another pre-season, with Davies in line to lead Scarlets for a second season.

“We have been challenged at Scarlets and the boys have reacted well and we are in a good place,” said Davies.

“Pre-season does not get any easier but hearing 20-year-olds talking about being tired in their legs is ridiculous!

“What is good for me is I am still competitive with them even though I have a number of years on them.

“I still want to push myself to try to be the best in training and set the standards.”

One person who is still around the Scarlets squad is younger brother and former flanker James Davies, who has been given a recruitment role after being forced to retire last season because of concussion.

“I am over the moon for him to have the role he has got,” said Davies.

“It is something I think he will be very good at and he can grow how he wants it to be.

“It is good to see him around and it shows how important he was on the rugby side that they created something for him to stick around like a bad smell!”

Jonathan Davies started the opening pre-season match against Bristol
Jonathan Davies started the opening pre-season match against Bristol which ended in defeat

Scarlets begin their United Rugby Championship (URC) campaign against Ospreys on 17 September in Llanelli (17:15 BST).

Davies’ side are looking to avenge the 54-36 defeat to Ospreys in April 2022.

“It is an exciting fixture to start,” added Davies.

“We played them at the end of the year last season and at half-time we probably thought the job was done.

“Credit to them they gave us a proper hiding in the second half and that hurt. To have the opportunity first game up to go against your local rivals is great.

“It will give us a sighter of where we are at and hopefully all this hard work will ensure we are in a good spot.

“It’s a great occasion and hopefully we can get a good crowd with a decent kick-off time.”

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