Davies predicts nervy finale

p30262Sport-9-1

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Wales star Jonathan Davies expects so-called Super Saturday to be a “pretty twitchy” business when this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship hurtles towards a potentially-shuddering crescendo this weekend.

Wales face a lunchtime appointment with Italy in Rome and could then endure the best part of a five-hour wait before discovering if they have done enough to be crowned Six Nations champions for the third time in four years.

Leaders England, second-placed Ireland and Wales, in third, are all on six points, but England’s points difference is currently 25 better than Wales’, while Ireland have a 21-point advantage on Davies and company.

Wales, though, can throw down the challenge to their title rivals by cutting loose against an injury-hit Italian side that was crushed 29-0 at home by France just three days ago.

The Wales team and management will be preparing for Saturday night’s post-match function in central Rome when England and France bring the curtain down on this season’s tournament, and it could prove to be an agonising waiting game.

But even if Wales win the Six Nations, there will be no trophy presentation until after they return home on Sunday, with organisers deciding to send the original Six Nations trophy to Twickenham and its solitary replica being paraded at Murrayfield, where Ireland tackle Scotland.

“I am sure we’ll find a trophy somewhere, like a plastic cup or something!” centre Davies said.

“Obviously, people are doubting us and don’t think we’re going to be involved. But we just worry about ourselves, concentrate on ourselves and on putting a performance together that hopefully means we can get the cup on Sunday.

“We will all be pretty twitchy, I assume, although there are a couple of boys who can just go off and switch off.

“I think the boys will be watching the other games. There is a dinner afterwards and I am sure the phones will be checked for score updates, but hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to put pressure on the opposition.

“It’s a tough ask but I think we can do it. We’ve reacted well in the past to certain situations like this. It’s an exciting time for us.

“It’s an early kick-off, really early, and some of the boys won’t be happy getting out of bed but it doesn’t really bother me.

“Playing last you know what you have to do, but there is pressure on you. On Saturday we can go out, deliver a performance and hopefully sit back and watch the other teams don’t do so well.”

Wales have never beaten Italy by more than 30 points in Rome during Six Nations combat, but such a victory margin could be their minimum requirement unless Scotland and France can do them a huge favour and upset the tournament’s form book.

But Wales have been in a similar situation before. After losing their opening game of the 2013 Six Nations against Ireland, they reeled off four successive wins and won the title on points difference after destroying Millennium Stadium visitors England 30-3.

“It has to be a focus of going out there with a similar game-plan we have had all tournament – put pressure on the opposition, make sure we don’t run up our own backsides and play in the right areas of the field,” Davies added.

“We don’t have to force it. We can build a performance and build a result. That’s key for us.

“We are going to have to take all our chances. We have said that probably as a back line we haven’t fired as we would have wanted to.

“The forwards have worked tirelessly all campaign for us and there is pressure on us now that when we get these opportunities we have to take them. There are no excuses.

“We understand the task at hand and we’ve been up against it with tough times before. We have got to go there, be confident and show what we can do.

“They (Italy) have got some key injuries with the captain (Sergio Parisse) maybe being out and stuff like that.

“After the disappointment of France, they will have doubt in their minds and it’s about us going out there and stamping our authority. It’s about sealing that doubt and building from there.”

While points difference is likely to decide the title’s destination, a Wales win – followed by victories for Scotland and France – would see Davies and company crowned champions by a two-point margin six weeks after losing their opening match against England.

“Scotland won’t want to finish on no wins and hopefully France can turn up and do a job,” Davies said.

“They have done it in the past, and I think they will take confidence in the result against Italy, albeit in a scrappy game.”

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search