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'We will be challenging James': Retired Davies' new Scarlets job

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Kevin Barnes - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ex-Wales back-rower James Davies is back in the game just over 20 weeks since his retirement as a Scarlets player was confirmed because of concussion. The forward, popularly known as ‘Cubby’, hadn’t played since winning his eleventh Test cap against Georgia at Parc y Scarlets in October 2020 and was forced to quit at the age of 31 due to his symptoms.

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At the moment, thankfully, I am able to lead a normal life, something I wasn’t able to do for a long time after the knock I had,” he said four months ago. “Any bang to the head in training or in a game and I could go back to the start of all this, which is unthinkable for me.

“It has been a tough couple of years, but the support I have had from my family, friends, teammates, coaches and the club has been incredible and I am hugely grateful for that.”

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Davies is now hugely grateful to Scarlets for a very different reason as he has now been appointed as the URC club’s recruitment and operations officer, working alongside director and general manager of rugby Jon Daniels.

“It’s an exciting role to be involved in,” said Davies on the Scarlets website. “Scarlets means a huge amount to me and I’m looking forward to working with Jon and Dwayne (Peel) to help the club achieve their ambitions.”

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Daniels explained why there was an opening to bring Davies on board at Scarlets. “There are two key elements of this role – one is to be the main interface with agents and to develop relationships because as a club, we want to be the one of choice for their client. The role is also to facilitate the internal processes of succession planning and identifying retention and recruitment targets.

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“Ultimately, Dwayne and myself will have the final say on that, but it is a critical process in the business and it needs somebody to facilitate it effectively. If you look at football, there will be teams of people doing this and we will be challenging James to get out there to improve on our processes to make sure we remain sector-leading.

“Apart from his very recent experience of what is required to become a top pro rugby player, his biggest qualities in being able to fulfil the role are the relationship-building, emotional intelligence side of what is required.

“If you think of his playing career, he knows what the academy is all about, but came through a different route – he came through a semi-pro route. He played sevens and ended up winning a PRO12 championship and playing internationally at sevens and 15-a-side. That is a fairly broad experience to be able to draw on when looking at a role like this.

“Even before his time recovering from injury, he always had an interest in this side of the game, but when he was injured we were able to talk about the specifics and it piqued his interest. It also showed me how much of an asset he could be to the business.”

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