Davies shrugs off pressure of No.13 shirt
July 4, 2013
Welshman Jonathan Davies will wear the No.13 shirt for the Sydney showdown © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies insists he will feel no extra pressure when he pulls on the No.13 shirt for Saturday's series-decider against Australia in Sydney on Saturday night.
Lions coach Warren Gatland stunned the rugby world by picking Davies for the ANZ Stadium clash ahead of veteran Brian O'Driscoll with the Irishman also missing out on a place among the replacements. Davies switches from the inside centre berth to his more accustomed role and will partner Wales team-mate Jamie Roberts in a new-look Lions midfield charged with steering the tourists to a first series triumph since 1997.
Despite the magnitude of that selection call and the occasion, Davies insists he will feel no extra pressure to perform. "I wouldn't say I feel any extra pressure, I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play in such a big game. Brian is one of the greats because of what he's achieved," Davies told PA Sport. "I was very grateful to him for coming up and congratulating me. Everyone who isn't involved on Saturday has shown a professional attitude. That's been one of the positives of the tour.
"Brian is like everyone else, he came up and congratulated me. We've got on with training since. I was obviously over the moon to be involved in such a massive game. Training has gone really well this week and the boys are looking forward to it.
"It's a huge task and we're really focused on the task in hand. I was glad to get the nod and looking forward to taking my opportunity again. Personally I'm pretty pleased with the way I've been playing, but I need to make sure I deliver on Saturday."
Davies re-unites with Roberts on the Test stage for the first time since Wales set the seal on their Six Nations triumph and the first time against Australia since the Wallabies visited Cardiff in December. "Jamie has a big, physical presence and gets over that gainline," Davies said. "He's done extremely well over the last couple of weeks to get back fit.
"To have someone like that come in shows the strength of the squad. It benefits that I've played a fair bit with him at country level. What he brings is something different and I'm looking forward to playing with him again. It's an exciting prospect.
"Everyone has to deliver on Saturday and we're in last chance saloon, we have to win. We're ready for the job. It's one of the biggest games of my career and we can't wait for the opportunity now. I'm excited about the prospect and a lot of the squad has played in big games and we can draw on that and use it to our advantage. We can't fear it, we have to go out and embrace it and do the job."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup