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Lions players' player of the tour Davies caps off terrific season

Six weeks on from lifting the Pro12 title, the Welsh centre has been voted Player of the Tour by his fellow Lions.

Davies cements Jordie Barrett in the second half.
Davies cements Jordie Barrett in the second half.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“AFTER THE FIRST 20 minutes I felt the worst I’ve ever felt to be honest with you,” says  Jonathan Davies after putting in another immense performance as the Lions battled to claim an unlikely draw to leave New Zealand with the series shared.

The Welsh centre, in the midst of his career’s richest vein of form, never looked likely to run out of steam though. And it wasn’t long after the tour’s final whistle before he was given an individual accolade for Lions tour that must be viewed as a collective success.

Davies was named the Lions Player’s Player of the Tour for his relentless work-rate, powerful carries, crucial breakdown interventions and host of shuddering hits that helped to stunt the vaunted All Blacks attack.

“I’m very humbled and chuffed to bits to get an award which is voted for by your peers,” said ‘Fox’ Davies, who has started all six Lions Tests on his two tours.

“But when you look back it’s been a team effort with 40 odd players and we dug in. We achieved something very special and I’m chuffed.”

“I’ve been really happy and I’ve enjoyed my rugby. I’ve played with a smile on my face and it’s just great to be part of such a special group of players.”

Cheering a draw is nothing to be sneered at. This New Zealand team were odds on to win the series 3 – 0 and were handicapped by at least 11 points going in to all three Test in recent weeks. After trio of epic contests though, the Lions ground them to a standstill.

“It’s been a great tour. As a group we’ve bonded really well and we’ve enjoyed each other’s company. I think we’ll look back at this in years to come and say we were quite proud to have been part of something so special.

I think coming out here people expected 3-0 and they didn’t give us a chance. What we did is come together and we became a team from four different countries. It was a great achievement for us and we can hold our heads high.”

Going to New Zealand on the back of a momentous Pro12 victory for Scarlets, Davies couldn’t bring himself to think about the prospect of facing New Zealand again in November when they travel to face Wales. He’s due a holiday, due a celebration after starring in another immense international contest.

“It was a cracking Test match again for the spectator. It was a very intense start in the first 20 minutes, they came hard at us out of the blocks and I think it was credit to us for fighting back and grinding it out.

Jonathan Davies with his family after the game Davies with his family post-match. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It could have gone either way at the end. Some people might say it was a fair result and we’re disappointed we didn’t get a win at the end of the day, but I’m proud of what we achieved.

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“We’ve been put together quite quickly and we’ve come down to the best nation in the world and played well. I’d like to think we have done ourselves proud.”

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Sean Farrell

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