Jonathan Davies
Wales legend who did not want to play for Wales
ESPN Staff
June 19, 2013
Jonathan Davies celebrates winning rugb league's Premiership with Widnes, Hull v Widnes, Stones Bitter Premiership, Old Trafford, England, May 14, 1989
A Welshman in exile ... Jonathan Davies celebrates a trophy with Widnes © Getty Images

Wales legend Jonathan Davies admitted he did not want to play for Wales after returning to rugby union from rugby league in 1995.

Davies was one of many Welsh players to switch from union to league but one of the first to move back after the barriers were brought down with the professionalisation of the game. In a BBC documentary, he said he was past his best by that time.

"I was a lot slower and couldn't give to Wales what I gave maybe 10 years before," Davies said. "I didn't really want to play for Wales again to be honest."

Davies, who switched codes in 1988 after winning 27 caps for Wales, made another five appearances after his return.

"Do you ever turn down playing for your country? No you don't. But no, I was past my best then. But it was nice to play for Wales again and have that adrenalin rush of going out again on the Arms Park. It was unbelievable."

Surprisingly, the programme claims that it was a fear of being dropped that drove Davies to Widnes, and that he had been caught "on the hop" when Widnes boss Doug Lawton came to see him days after Wales' 15-9 home defeat to Romania in December 1988.

"I wasn't happy. I got blamed for that defeat and then all of a sudden the unthinkable came into my mind that I was going to get dropped [from] playing for Wales. You know I've got no qualifications to fall back on, that's when the rugby league boys came down and there was an avenue out for me."

The catalyst for his return was the diagnosis of his wife, Karen, with cancer. "What did I want to do do? I wanted to come back to Wales and have the support of my family through that period."

After Karen's death in 1997 he said he went "off the rails a bit … but the discipline of TV schedules and kids going to school was the key to keeping me on that straight and narrow".

Jonathan Davies: A Trimsaran Boy is on BBC One Wales at 21:00 BST on Thursday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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