Six Nations
Davies escapes citing for trip
ESPNscrum Staff
February 7, 2011
Wales' Jonathan Davies stretches the England defence,  Wales v England, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 4, 2011
Davies has been cleared to face Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend © Getty Images

Wales centre Jonathan Davies has been cleared to face Scotland this weekend after escaping a citing for tripping England winger Chris Ashton during Friday night's Six Nations opener in Cardiff.

The 22-year-old Davies was not punished during the game and went on to set up a try for team-mate Morgan Stoddart although his side eventually slumped to a 26-19 defeat at the Millennium Stadium. Citing commissioner Jean-Etienne Bernard had until 2130 GMT on Sunday to cite the player but that deadline passed without action being taken.

"There was no bad intentions, I am not a dirty player," insisted Davies after the game. "I would never go out to trip anyone. All I remember is putting the ball through on the floor, going to kick it on again and unfortunately I got his leg."

As a result Davies can expect to be thrown straight back into action against the Scots but No.8 Andy Powell and winger Morgan Stoddart are expected to be missing from the team announced tomorrow due to injuries. Stoddart broke his hand during that game while Powell is nursing a shoulder injury.

Ryan Jones would be the likely replacement for Powell, with coach Warren Gatland probably summoning a wing reinforcement from candidates such as Tom James, Aled Brew and Tom Prydie. Whatever selection Gatland opts for, Wales must find a way of kicking the losing habit, having suffered seven defeats and scraped an autumn draw against Fiji in their last eight Tests.

"You can't hide from the fact we have lost an awful lot of games - and we are not hiding from that," said assistant Wales coach and kicking specialist Jenkins. "A lot of the games we have lost we've been very close. We've been out in front, either been pegged back or come up short towards the end.

"Some of these (Wales) players are world-class players, fantastic players, and when they have ball in hand they are pretty deadly. We know we can do it, it's just making the right decisions at the right time. The reality is it's all about winning, and we need to get across that winning line. When we do that, I think we will turn the corner.

"We all get the criticism, and if we haven't won we deserve it. We've got to take it on the chin and work our socks off to get it right, get ourselves back on track and get a win under our belt."

"The reality is we've lost, and we have got to move on. We have a tough Test match at Murrayfield next Saturday. I don't think there was a lot in the (England) game. It was pretty tight, but it's another defeat for us in a season where we have probably lost an awful lot of games in similar circumstances. We just don't seem to be scoring. They took their opportunities, and we've just got to be better at making the right decisions at certain times."

Jenkins has also launched a staunch defence of fly-half Stephen Jones against a backdrop of the Welsh rugby public clamouring for James Hook to be handed an opportunity at No.10. "I think Stephen is a fantastic player," said the former Wales fly-half. "I know there is always a lot of talk that when we don't win it always seems to be the 10's problem.

"I am a big fan of Steve's, but everyone seems to blame the half-backs when things don't go to plan. I certainly had the brunt of that in my time when I played, even if it was because the scrum or lineout didn't work very well! That's the way it is.

"Number 10 always seems to be picked out, but if he did okay, then people pick out number nine. I think they (Jones and Mike Phillips) are both very talented players, and I think we've got to back them. The half-backs are the ones that control matters. They are the most important players on the pitch, as far as I am concerned."

Wales have beaten Scotland just three times in the past 20 years at Murrayfield and flanker Dan Lydiate is well aware of need to stop the rot. "We need to get back to winning ways. Once we do that, we will get some momentum and it will give us a boost," he said. "There were times we were sloppy against England, and we need to cut out those mistakes. If we do that, we will really be firing.

"We were a bit rusty, and you cannot be that way at this level. Nobody is hurting more than the players, and we are all disappointed for the fans. We will take a good long hard look at what happened. Fingers will be pointed this week, and we will sort it out for next weekend."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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