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WALES U-18 V AUSTRALIA IOS - PREVIEW

21st November 2012, 13:02

WALES U-18 V AUSTRALIA IOS - PREVIEW

CONFIDENT SKIPPER DAVIES TAKING THE LESSONS OF SENIOR COACH HARRIS TO THE UNDER-18S

By Gary Baker

 

WELSH captain Courtney Davies believes he has learnt a wealth of knowledge from national coach Iestyn Harris in the past month.

 

Now 18-year-old Davies hopes to bring all of that experience to his age group side for the massive clash against the Australian Institute of Sport at The Gnoll, Neath, on Wednesday November 28 (kick-off: 7.30pm).

 

Wales are on a roll after beating Scotland in the first of their triangular series Test matches this month and following that with a brilliant 30-24 victory over England in Leigh.

 

The teenagers have now got to move up even more gears to face an Australia side of whom many may be in a World Cup winning side of the future.

 

It is a big ask but Davies has had the experience of training with the senior squad during the recent Tri-Nations International Series, along with teenage colleagues Rhys Pugsley and Osian Phillips, to call on as they face their biggest Test this year.

 

Davies said: "I can tell that a couple of the boys are nervous about the match but all we have to do is look at our second-half performances against Scotland and England and we can take a lot of positives from there.

 

"It's my third time facing them (Australia) and I know what they will bring to the table. We are really confident and training is going well.

 

"It is going to be ten times faster facing Australia than it was against Scotland or even England but if we can put two halves of rugby together, we can do alright."

 

Davies has made great strides this season, and his involvement with the senior team, under Harris, has added further momentum.

 

"I got so much out of being part of the seniors," said the Port Talbot half-back. "It gave me so much more confidence in my game.

 

"When I was training with the seniors, I dropped the ball about four times during the week and Iestyn said that was too much which just shows the standards he expects at that level.

 

"I saw him sometime later and he asked me how many I dropped that week. I said 'none' and he was happy. He doesn't shout at you but you understand his authority. He is one of the best coaches who has spoken to me."

 

All of that confidence and belief is now rubbing off on the Under-18 side and helping Davies lead his side to success.

 

He inspired them at half-time, when they were 20-6 down against Scotland in Wrexham, to stage a comeback and win 46-28.

 

And with players like Pugsley, who made his senior debut against France in Lens last month, adding to the mix, Wales have a good young batch of talent to drive on in the future.

 

"Against England, we nearly gave it away in the last ten minutes when both sides were struggling but we just stuck to the basics and completed our sets of six. I spoke to the boys are half-time and said we needed to cut down on our errors and mistakes and that is how we score points.

 

"Now two good halves of rugby will give us a chance against Australia," added the skipper.