Six Nations 2015: Wales ready to pounce on title, says Davies
Clermont Auvergne centre Jonathan Davies targering win over reigning champions to keep championship hopes alive
Jonathan Davies insists Wales are ready to pounce on the RBS 6 Nations title with two rounds of the tournament remaining.
Ireland, the reigning champions, current championship leaders and favourites for the title, are next up for Warren Gatland’s men in Cardiff on Saturday, but they have not won against the boys in green since their Grand Slam-winning campaign in 2012.
We just have to make sure we keep playing and executing well what we do. It’s not going to fall into our laps as such, but we’re ready to pounce.
Wales centre Jonathan Davies on their 2015 title ambitions
And Ireland’s current form, as well as their impressive record in Cardiff, means that a just a third win over the Irish in Cardiff since 1983 will be even tougher to come by for the hosts, who made history by bouncing back from an opening-round defeat to Ireland in 2013 to retain their title after winning their next four matches.
Wales are looking to repeat their 2013 heroics after losing their opening match to England last month before defeating Scotland and France on the road, but Davies is all too aware of the threat that the boys in green bring.
“Ireland are third in the world and they have won 10 games in a row,” Davies said.
“They are a very good team; they are defending champions and are well-coached.
“It’s a tough task for us, and we have to make sure we get a good week’s preparation and really focus on the game.
“We have just got to keep doing everything we can to be [in title contention].
“We have done that the last two games after the disappointment against England, and we just have to make sure we keep playing and executing well what we do.
“It’s not going to fall into our laps as such, but we’re ready to pounce.”
Davies and Racing Metro centre Jamie Roberts have cemented their positions in the Welsh midfield, but on Saturday they will face an Irish midfield that is still undergoing a transition following Brian O’Driscoll retirement last summer.
They understand their roles and what each other is doing. That normally takes a bit of time, but they seem to have taken to it really quickly.
Jonathan Davies on Ireland’s new centre partnership
Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Ian Madigan, Stuart Olding and veteran Gordon D’Arcy are all contenders for the green 12 and 13 jerseys, but Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt seems to favour the versatile combination of Connacht’s Henshaw and Ulster’s New Zealand-born Jared Payne, who can both also play full-back.
Schmidt is set to continue his preferred combination if Payne comes through graduated return-to-play protocols after being concussed in their win over England nine days ago.
And Davies admits that from the outside looking in, the duo have quickly settled into their roles at the heart of Ireland’s back division.
“Their centre partnership is a good one,” he said. “They are big boots to fill, and they seem to be doing quite well.
“They have played well together and seem to have a good understanding, which is important for a centre pairing.
“They understand their roles and what each other is doing. That normally takes a bit of time, but they seem to have taken to it really quickly.”