Williams backs Davies for Wales tour

James Davies in action for Scarlets

Scarlets’ James Davies has played sevens for Wales

Martyn Williams believes uncapped Scarlets flanker James Davies deserves to be selected for Wales’ tour of New Zealand next month.

Coach Warren Gatland names his squad on Tuesday, with open-side Justin Tipuric ruled out following a head injury.

Williams, Wales’ most capped open-side, believes Davies, 25, has done enough to edge Cardiff Blues’ Ellis Jenkins.

“I would give James Davies a go if I’m honest because over a 12 month period he’s been so consistent,” he said.

“It’s a toss up between Ellis Jenkins and James Davies but [Davies] brings more as an attacking threat and I think he deserves to be in that squad.”

British and Irish Lion Tipuric suffered a blow to the head in Wales’ Six Nations match against Italy in March and is unlikely to play again until the 2016-17 season.

Davies has been linked with selection for the GB seven-a-side squad for the Rio Olympics.

But the absence of the highly-regarded Osprey has opened up a place in the Wales open-side – an area dominated by Warburton and Tipuric.

If selected for the tour, Davies could play alongside his older brother Jonathan – the Clermont and Lions centre.

Other selection issues

Warburton himself is undergoing treatment for a shoulder injury suffered playing for Blues against Ospreys at Welsh rugby’s Judgement Day event on 30 April, but is expected to be fit to tour.

Also in the forwards, second row Alun Wyn Jones has not played since Wales’ 25-21 Six Nations defeat by England because of a heel injury.

Behind the scrum Gatland is without wing Alex Cuthbert who underwent surgery in April, and Toulon full-back Leigh Halfpenny is still to return after injuring a knee playing for Wales against Italy on 5 September 2015.

Another worry is the hamstring injury suffered by centre Scott Williams after making his return following a seven-month lay-off.

Former Wales captain Gwyn Jones does not expect many surprises in the squad, but he would like to see another uncapped player in the tour party.

“I personally like (Ospreys fly-half) Sam Davies as a rugby player,” he said.

“I think he’s the best attacking 10 in Wales, he takes the ball up better than anyone else. If we’re taking three 10s, let’s have one eye on the future.”


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