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Wales tell Sam Davies they’re watching once again, even if nobody’s talking about him

Much has been made about the situation regarding the Welsh fly-half jersey ahead of the autumn opener against New Zealand.

The two players who inhabited the shirt during the Six Nations, England-based duo Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy, will be unavailable for the clash as it falls outside the international window.

As a result, the likes of Jarrod Evans, Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe – who is back after a two-year spell out of the game – have all been touted for the starting gig against the All Blacks on October 30.

Few seem to be mentioning Sam Davies for the role, though.

Even the man himself admits it wasn’t something he had pondered.

“Now you mention it, it’s the first time I’ve thought about it,” he admits ahead of the start of the new season.

Despite being a former junior world player of the year tipped for bright things, Davies simply hasn’t been able to break into the Wales squad in recent years.

Read more: For all the latest news and analysis, stop by our home of Welsh rugby

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His last appearance in a Wales jersey was against the Barbarians in Wayne Pivac’s first match in charge in 2019, but his last capped appearance was four years ago in 2017.

Since then, he’s toiled for the Dragons but to no avail.

Could the new United Rugby Championship – kicking off with a Welsh derby against his old employers, the Ospreys – be the catalyst for a Test revival for the 27-year-old?

“I’ve just got to be playing well, hopefully pick up some of the form I was putting on the pitch last year, get my kicking percentages up to where they need to be and whatever comes off the back of that will be,” Davies explains.

“I’m not holding my breath, I’m just focusing on getting the Dragons in the right place and my performances being solid.”

Perhaps, after being overlooked on more than one occasion, Davies doesn’t exactly sound like he’s brimming with optimism on the Wales front.

He is, however, optimistic about the Dragons, with the fly-half doing his best to hide his excitement about the upcoming season.

“I’m optimistic and I think I’ve got a right to be given how we finished the PRO14 last year,” he says.

“We showed promising signs. With a couple of good additions this year who have fitted in really well, there’s every reason to be optimistic.

“But we won’t get ahead of ourselves, we’ll take every game as it comes.”

Do just that and a Wales recall could be on the cards.

There has been “partial contact” from the Wales camp since his last involvement, Davies admits. He has spoken to attack coach Stephen Jones, a man he knows well from his time as a kid at the Scarlets.

When Sam’s dad, Nigel Davies, was coaching the west Walians, Jones would give the younger Davies his boots.

As a result, one journalist jokingly asks ‘is that Uncle Steve?’ when Jones’ name comes up in conversation during this interview.

“Well it used to be, at least!” Davies jokes in response.

“It’s a case of trying to play well for the Dragons. Whatever comes off the back of it, it comes. I just want to make sure my performances for the Dragons are good. If they’re recognised, brilliant. If not, I’ll just keep focusing on the Dragons.

“They’ve said they’re watching the games and they saw pre-season, which is brilliant because I went well there. Hopefully that’s the catalyst for me going on this weekend.”

In terms of feedback from Wales, there hasn’t been anything specific passed on to Davies. Not that he needs clarification on where he struggled at times last year.

“I didn’t think I’d get in the summer Test squad as my kicking wasn’t where it needed to be,” he admits.

“So I didn’t need feedback from that point of view. I’ll take any feedback that comes my way and work on that. But there’s been nothing specific.

“I think it was clear my kicking wasn’t good enough. It was in the 60s and Test kickers are around the 80% mark. Get it back to that and we’ll see what happens.

“I felt like last season I finished fairly strongly and I’ve started pre-season well. I’m confident at the minute and I think I can take that into Sunday against my old club.”

For Davies, it wasn’t like his technique had deserted him overnight, though.

Instead, it was all in his head – just like a golfer trying to rediscover his form and, in doing so, taking on shots he probably shouldn’t.

“I’ve been in the 80s and won the Golden Boot in my time so it’s something I know I can do,” he explains.

“But last year I took some pointless kicks and started chasing things a bit.

“You miss a few and chase that percentage then. It was a bit immature of me looking back and something I’ve learned from. I’ll take that into this season and take some confidence from it.

“Potentially I felt the team needed points, but it’s also just to try and get some successful kicks. They weren’t easy kicks, though. Some were 45 metres out on the angle.

“You get yourself in a hole then, taking kicks on you don’t need to take on. A lot of teams go to the corner now and go for seven points.

“Don’t get me wrong, there’s big kicks that I need to take on. But maybe not as much as I took on last year and that will hopefully be reflected in the percentages.

“I’m 100% so far. Keep it at that and there’ll be no complaints!”

Sam Davies was speaking at Premier Sports’ launch, with the channel broadcasting every game of the United Rugby Championship.Their coverage includes the first Welsh derby on Sunday, September 26, between the Dragons and Ospreys at Rodney Parade – live on Premier Sports 1 from 1.30pm.

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