Bradley Davies was set to play a PRO14 game in Belfast last week before a missed call from Wales boss Warren Gatland drastically changed his plans.
Dragons lock Hill could not recover from a stress fracture in his leg, so 65 times-capped Ospreys forward Davies was summoned.
“I was pretty rushed last week, to be fair,” Davies said, at Wales’ lakeside base in Otsu.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 30, 2019
“I was in Ospreys training preparing for the Ulster game. I had just finished in the gym, and I had a missed call from ‘Gats’. I guessed then – unless I had done something really bad!
“I called him back and he said ‘can you jump on a plane tomorrow?’ I went home, kissed my wife and kids goodbye and was straight in the car.”
Davies, 32, missed out on a place in Wales’ Word Cup squad, but he will offer considerable experience provided by a 10-year Test career.
“It was disappointing not to get picked at the start, but I think the way the summer went for me, I didn’t get a chance to put my best foot forward,” he added.
“I didn’t train as much as the other boys, so I deserved not to be picked, to be honest with you.
"We're gonna win the World Cup!" ???????
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 29, 2019
“We’ve got some really good second-rows. But I know that second-row is a difficult position to play and something always happens, someone goes down. My mindset was to go back, keep fit and see how it goes.”
With Hill struggling and Adam Beard recovering from an appendix operation, Wales’ second-row resources in Japan have been tested.
“There was talk that (former Wales internationals) Bob Norster and Derwyn Jones were coming out!” Davies joked.
“All the other boys will say I’m lying, but I think it (second-row) is one of the toughest positions on the field.
“It’s not very glamorous, and you have to put your head where it hurts a lot of the time. A lot of us are big heavy men as well.”
Davies’ renowned sense of humour has made him a popular member of Welsh squads down the years, and the World Cup promises to be no exception.
“I used to be on the joke of the day (committee) about 10 years ago, but I was kicked off that because I was too controversial,” he said.
Gareth Davies is the interception King ?
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 1, 2019
“I’ve done fines in the past, but I’ve been kicked off that. I’m just a joker on the bus, really, and sometimes I have to stand up and juggle so the boys can have a laugh.
“I’ve been around the squad a long time, so I’ve got a place at the back of the bus just heckling people. That’s my role.
“The massive thing that I will probably miss after rugby is the camaraderie and coming to training every day.
“You could think you’ve got the best haircut in the world, but as soon as you walk through the door, the boys abuse you and you feel terrible! They are asking you when you are going back to have your haircut finished.
“It’s an unforgiving environment in that sense, but it’s great and the boys get on well. We have a great laugh.
“But it’s always underpinned by how hard we train on the field. Once we cross that white line, we train harder than anybody.”
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