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Wales midfielder Jonathan Davies set to play his first match in 47 weeks

By Online Editors
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jonathan Davies is set to play his first rugby match in 47 weeks following an injury at the World Cup last November with Wales. The midfielder damaged his knee in the third-place play-off against New Zealand at the finals in Japan. 

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He missed the entire 2019/20 campaign with Scarlets, which ended in Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat last Saturday at Toulon. But he now steps in as preparations begin for the new 2020/21 PRO14 season with Friday’s friendly against Ospreys at Parc Y Scarlets.

Davies last played for Scarlets in April 2019, featuring in a league defeat to the Dragons, but he now gets the chance to stake a selection claim ahead of the new campaign which kicks-off on October 3 at home to Munster. 

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The majority of the Scarlets side that started versus Toulon will sit out the pre-season derby that will see Tom Rogers start at full-back with Ryan Conbeer and Tom Prydie featuring on the wings. 

Davies partners Paul Asquith in midfield, while Sam Costelow will make his Scarlets debut following his switch from Leicester Tigers in the summer. The Wales U20s pivot partners Dane Blacker at half-back.

Up front, Phil Price, Marc Jones and Werner Kruger provide plenty of front-row experience, while Josh Helps and Tevita Ratuva pack down behind them. Jac Morgan captains the side from openside flanker and links up with Ed Kennedy and Springbok Uzair Cassiem in the back row.

SCARLETS: 15. Tom Rogers; 14. Ryan Conbeer, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Paul Asquith, 11. Tom Prydie; 10. Sam Costelow, 9. Dane Blacker; 1. Phil Price, 2. Marc Jones, 3. Werner Kruger, 4. Josh Helps, 5. Tevita Ratuva, 6. Ed Kennedy, 7. Jac Morgan (capt), 8. Uzair Cassiem. Reps: Dylan Evans, Taylor Davies, Shaun Evans, Javan Sebastian, Jac Price, Morgan Jones, Dan Davis, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Tom Phillips, Joe Miles, Will Homer, Dan Jones, Angus O’Brien, Osian Knott.

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Flankly 3 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

If rugby wants to remain interesting in the AI era then it will need to work on changing the rules. AI will reduce the tactical advantage of smart game plans, will neutralize primary attacking weapons, and will move rugby from a being a game of inches to a game of millimetres. It will be about sheer athleticism and technique,about avoiding mistakes, and about referees. Many fans will find that boring. The answer is to add creative degrees of freedom to the game. The 50-22 is an example. But we can have fun inventing others, like the right to add more players for X minutes per game, or the equivalent of the 2-point conversion in American football, the ability to call a 12-player scrum, etc. Not saying these are great ideas, but making the point that the more of these alternatives you allow, the less AI will be able to lock down high-probability strategies. This is not because AI does not have the compute power, but because it has more choices and has less data, or less-specific data. That will take time and debate, but big, positive and immediate impact could be in the area of ref/TMO assistance. The technology is easily good enough today to detect forward passes, not-straight lineouts, offside at breakdown/scrum/lineout, obstruction, early/late tackles, and a lot of other things. WR should be ultra aggressive in doing this, as it will really help in an area in which the game is really struggling. In the long run there needs to be substantial creativity applied to the rules. Without that AI (along with all of the pro innovations) will turn rugby into a bash fest.

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