Davies silences his critics
Rumours that Phil Davies had passed his international sell-by date would appear to be somewhat premature following the big man's committed and athletic display in leading the Scarlets to Saturday's much-needed victory.
A big man for the big occasion, Davies lost his place in the Welsh pack for the Test against the Springboks last month when the selectors finally gave the Cardiff giant, Derwyn Jones, his fling in the second row.
Jones proved an instant hit alongside the new skipper, Gareth Llewellyn, and many people felt the 6ft 10in youngster's exciting debut could prove the death knell for Davies's illustrious international career.
If that was supposed to be the case then someone obviously forgot to tell Davies. In his first league outing since 12 November, and his 296th appearance for Llanelli, he tore around the pitch as if he was playing at Stradey Park for the first time.
The acting captain also got in on the try act, crossing for one of his side's nine scores, and the on-looking selectors will have been much heartened by what they saw. With full fitness restored, Davies remains a certainty for the Welsh World Cup squad.
The other heartening news for the national selectors was the form of the right wing, Wayne Proctor. The rugby headlines in Wales this season have been dominated by the horrific run of injuries suffered by the Welsh back line - Ieuan Evans (broken leg), Mike Rayer (broken leg), Nigel Davies (fractured cheekbone), Nigel Walker (knee operation) and Rupert Moon (broken wrist) - yet few have noted the consistency of Proctor.
He waged a personal war on Abertillery in the second half as he sped away for four tries, three of them in a 12-minute burst, as Llanelli rediscovered some of their best form.
His example was enthusiastically followed by his fellow wing, Garan Evans, who ran in his first league hat-trick, and the brave battlers from Gwent were sunk in a sea of second-half points.
At least they fared better than they did in 1991, when they conceded 13 tries in a 68-9 defeat at Stradey, and they looked like a side well capable of staying in the First Division.
Victory for the Scarlets also went a long way to ensuring they will not lose their top-flight status after a run of three successive defeats and the deduction of two league points. The return of Davies provided much needed ballast and now the Llanelli ship looks set fare once again.
Llanelli: Tries Proctor 4, G Evans 3, R Evans, Davies; Conversions Stephens 2, Strange; Penalty Stephens. Abertillery: Try M Williams; Conversion M Williams; Penalties M Williams 2.
Llanelli: J Strange; W Proctor, N Boobyer, M Wintle, G Evans; C Stephens, H Harries; R Evans, R McBryde (P Young, 74), H Williams-Jones, P Davies (capt), L Williams, C Quinnell, I Hembrow, A McPherson (A Lamerton, 55).
Abertillery: A Price; M Williams, R Richards, S Connors, A Richards; K Price, M Rossitor (capt); J Mainwaring, C Milkins, B Cripps, J Cicero, M Griffiths, G Gladwyn, J Williams, M Picton.
Referee: P Rees (Aberystwyth).
Latest in Sport
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
The guard has changed at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. Meanwhile, down the road, the ...
by The Sports Lawyer
21 May 2013 10:01 PM
With the top nine players in the men’s world tennis rankings all missing this tournament to prepare ...
by Gareth Purnell
21 May 2013 02:01 AM
Exclusive: Championship clubs set to push for safe-standing trials
Sergio Garcia at centre of racism row as dispute with Tiger Woods continues
Gaël Clichy: Roberto Mancini must take share of blame for dismissal
Phil Neville in frame for role at Stoke City
Andy Carroll stalls on £15m move to West Ham in hope Newcastle step in
- 1 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 2 Swedes set up 'ultimate Viking movie'
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Salary Package - £60K to £120K: Austen Lloyd: We have an exciting op...
£200 - £250 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Java Developer - Urgent Requirem...
£70000 - £95000 per annum + Bonus, flexible working hours, remote work: Progre...
£50000 - £56000 per annum + Benefits package, flexible working hours: Progress...