Rugby Union

World Cup campaign no laughing matter for Wales' Bradley Davies

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Bradley Davies is Wales' joker in the pack - but he is deadly serious when it comes to World Cup business.

The Wasps lock, who is closing in on 50 Test caps, regularly delivers an array of witty one-liners - and just over 72 hours before Wales' opening World Cup game against Uruguay on Sunday proved no exception.

Reflecting on the scars from surgery during his career, Davies said: "I told my daughter (Elle) I got eaten by a shark. She is only two, so she will believe anything.

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"She likes the one when the ice-cream man plays a song it means he hasn't got any ice cream left. That one works."

Then, recalling homesickness he experienced during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, he added: "I struggled with homesickness. I don't know why - I am from Llantrisant."

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And assessing a new Secret Santa-type tradition of Wales squad members buying presents for each other, Davies was asked how prop Gethin Jenkins might view such acts of generosity. The reply? "He's tight as cramp, old Geth."

But beneath Davies' affable exterior is a true rugby warrior, a player whose wholehearted approach, fierce commitment and passion for the Wales shirt offers an impressive combination that underpins his place in head coach Warren Gatland's 31-man World Cup squad.

He was outstanding when Wales claimed a notable World Cup warm-up win against Ireland in Dublin last month, and Davies will be part of a five-strong lock contingent alongside Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Jake Ball and Dominic Day for a Pool A schedule that starts against Millennium Stadium opponents Uruguay.

"I have had a pretty stinking three years," the 28-year-old added. "I have had four major operations, but I got through it.

"My day-to-day training has changed since I was a kid. I used to love to go and do some extra weights and stuff, but those days are gone now. It is about preparing for the weekend and being a bit smarter about how I train."

Wales' detailed World Cup preparations featured gruelling training camps in Switzerland and Qatar, and Davies said: "It was the hardest (camp) I have been involved in, but it was good.

"There are not many times you get to spend so long together as an international team, and going away on these camps has really brought us together. We worked on things we needed to work on.

"Nothing can compare to playing a rugby match, but I think we have got the balance right.

"We've had three warm-up games, we have had tough fitness which is hopefully in the bank, and now we can start to taper off a bit and sharpen our tools for the World Cup. That is the plan."

Jones and Charteris are favourites to fill the lock berths in next week's Pool A showdown against England at Twickenham, but Davies revels in the healthy competition for places.

"The way our second-rows are - come and watch us train - we are all trying to kill each other at training and get into each other, which is always good and competitive," he said.

"There is a respect there, which we have in all positions. If you are in the squad just to make the numbers up, then there is no point being here. Everyone wants to play."

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Topics:
Rugby Union
Wales Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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