James Davies relishes GB Sevens Olympic challenge

By Dafydd JonesBBC Wales Sport
James Davies
James Davies started his career with Carmarthen Quins

Scarlets flanker James Davies admits he faces a tough challenge to make Great Britain's final men's Sevens squad for the Rio Olympic Games.

Davies, 25, is one of five Welshmen named in head coach Simon Amor's 25-man training group which will be cut to 12 players in July.

"To get on that final plane is going to be very difficult," he told BBC Wales.

"It's going to be a tough seven weeks, to try and get yourself in that last 12 is a tough task," said Davies.

"At the end of the day it's a challenge and I'm quite looking forward to it."

Davies has captained Wales Sevens and last played in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, before focusing on a 15-a-side career with Scarlets.

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He says the chance to represent Team GB would eclipse any previous experience as a sevens specialist.

"At the Commonwealth Games it was an honour to represent Wales but to represent Great Britain at the highest level possible, that's a very exciting prospect," he said.

"My focus is completely on giving it all for those training weeks and giving myself every opportunity to ensure I'm on that plane.

James Davies
James Davies, shown here in action during the 2014 Hong Kong sevens

"It's obviously going to be quite tough. In the past when I've played sevens I was playing 15s at the same time, I was going back and forth so I'm quite comfortable I'll be able to do it."

Amor has said getting hold of 15-a-side players and integrating them in time for Rio has already put Great Britain's sevens team at a disadvantage ahead of the Games.

In preparation, two men's teams will enter tournaments in Moscow, Exeter, Gdynia and London in June and July.

"It's not ideal, but Simon Amor has picked a side with experience on the circuit," said Davies.

"I'm sure the side we'll put together after two months of training will be pretty competitive," Davies added.

Davies was omitted from Wales' 35-man squad for the three-Test trip to New Zealand in June but says he was available to tour.

"I put myself forward for selection and didn't take myself away from selection by making myself available for the GB Sevens but that didn't work out," he said.

Jonathan Davies
James Davies is hoping to one day join his brother Jonathan in Warren Gatland's Wales team

"At the end of the day it's not a bad silver lining to be able to have an opportunity to be an Olympian and I reckon it'll be a blessing in disguise."

The uncapped open-side is the brother of Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies and still hopes to join his older brother one day in a senior Welsh shirt.

"It's every Welsh player's dream. I'll do everything I can to one day pull on that number seven jersey for Wales but my focus is now on the GB Sevens," he said.

Sevens is included in the Olympics for the first time this year - with 15-a-side rugby having last appeared at the 1924 Games in Paris.

England, Wales and Scotland compete separately on the Sevens World Series, but will come together to form am Olympics team.

Great Britain qualified for Rio 2016 on the back of England's top-four finish in last season's Sevens World Series.

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