Davies set for Reds return
2011 can’t come around quick enough for Rod Davies.
Back at Queensland Reds’ training before Christmas, the former Ipswich Grammar School 1st XV captain proved he is still the fastest player in the squad, clocking 4.6 seconds for 40m.
Yet things felt a bit different for Davies being back with the Reds and meeting new teammates was only a small part of it.
A year ago, Davies and back rower Scott Higginbotham were Reds rookies while Will Genia and Quade Cooper were just making their names.
Now Davies and Higginbotham are Wallabies, following last month’s tour of Europe, while Genia and Cooper are established Test stars.
“I guess the boys have brought a bit more experience back to the club,” Davies said.
“You can bring that back and the other boys really look up to that.
“We’ve been training with the best, which is a good thing.”
Davies didn’t get a look into the Test side while on tour, playing the two mid-week matches against Munster and Leicester.
“It was good to be involved, but when you’re there you want to push to the next level,” he said.
While a Test jersey wasn’t forthcoming, Davies learnt plenty.
“I’d never played in conditions like that before,” he said.
“It was cold and windy.
“Especially the Munster game.
“It was the coldest I’ve played in.”
When Davies does get his chance in a Test, he now knows what to expect.
“I’d just say training with guys like Matt Giteau and being around the best players (was the biggest learning curve),” Davies said.
“The training ethic.
“You’ve got to prepare properly and get everything right.
“Robbie (coach Robbie Deans) was unreal.
“He’s very helpful and guys like (assistant coach) Phil Blake helped me, too, with defence and stuff.”
Davies was also excited to be involved with a Wallabies squad whose backline is considered the most potent in world rugby.
“Kurtley (Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale) is in unreal form at the moment,” Davies said.
“They’re getting a good understanding of each other.”
That understanding is only going to get better and the belief that something special is taking shape was evident in the Wallabies squad.
Davies plans to put the lessons learnt into practice for the Reds in 2011.