Blog Banner

Wales under-20 star Davies targeting Baby Blacks upset

Pathway | 14th June 2019

Ioan Davies is targeting four victories from five games in the World Rugby Under-20s Championship after starring against Fiji.

The Cardiff Blues academy full-back was one of the standout performers as Wales battled to an impressive result against the ferocious Fijians.

Davies, who is studying at Cardiff University, was rock solid under the high ball and in defence and capped his performance with one of Wales’ six tries.

His all-round display drew comparisons to a young Leigh Halfpenny but the former Glantaf pupil’s feet are firmly on the ground and he remains focused on the task at hand in Argentina.

He said: “It’s the headguard that does it (comparisons to Halfpenny), ever since I started tackling in juniors, I’ve worn it and haven’t been without it since!

“They were really physical and flew in hard like we expected but we all matched that physicality and put some shots in on them as well.

“They were flamboyant and were throwing the offloads - they hit hard in attack and defence and were hard to deal with at times.”

The sides were neck-and-neck for the opening hour of the encounter, and despite tries from Tommy Reffell, Tomi Lewis, Dafydd Buckland and Dewi Lake, Fiji managed to stay within touching distance to set-up a nervy finish.

The Pacific Islanders were also reduced to 14-men for a period of the game, following a high shot on Davies, with number eight Eparama Sailo fortunate to only receive a yellow card.

However, Wales turned the screw in the final quarter, with Davies and fellow Blues academy product Ben Warren crossing the whitewash to put the Fijians to bed.

The victory was not enough to secure a semi-final after hosts Argentina shocked France, with both sides qualifying for a place in the final four.

Wales now battle for fifth place, and go into a daunting play-off against the Junior All Blacks on Monday June 17, with Ireland also taking on England in the second tier.

Davies continued: “I was chuffed really, it was a tough game, but it was nice to finish one of the tries off.

“The yellow card period was a really good turning point in the game. We managed to pile the pressure on them and made the most of that 10 minutes.

“It was a great performance from everyone and it was nice for me, Ben and a few others to finish them off. It shows we have strike power all over the park, from one to 15 and that’s encouraging for the games coming.

“We will look back on this and try to take the good points on and work on the bad points to push on. It was the third game in the tournament and there were some tired bodies. In the first half we weren’t quite there defensively and that’s something we have to look at and tighten up.

“But we can definitely finish with four wins from five games, we have a good enough squad to do that and have the belief that we can , we will just take the next game and see how we go.”