Jonathan Davies: Wales centre makes Scarlets return after long-term knee injury

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales at Parc y Scarlets
Jonathan Davies
Jonathan Davies has won 81 caps for for Wales and played six Tests for the British and Irish Lions

Wales centre Jonathan Davies played his first game after almost a year out injured as Scarlets lost 25-15 to Ospreys in a pre-season friendly.

A knee injury had kept Davies out since Wales' World Cup bronze medal match loss to New Zealand in November 2019.

He looked comfortable as he played the first half of Friday's friendly before being replaced at half-time.

"It was good to have a little run-out. The butterflies were there and it was nice to feel that again," said Davies.

"All in all, I feel good and I was happy to be out there again with the boys after a long process to come back."

Davies is hoping to prove his fitness before the start of the Pro14 season, with Scarlets hosting Munster on 3 October.

Later that month, Wales will play their first match since the coronavirus pandemic when they take on France in Paris on 24 October.

During his comeback at Parc y Scarlets, Davies showed glimpses of the class which has earned him the reputation of being one of the world's best centres, with a smart offload and a signature left-footed grubber kick.

He was taken off at half-time as planned and, having suffered serious knee and foot injuries before his most recent lengthy lay-off, Davies was grateful to be back playing again.

"It will probably take time until I'm back feeling fully comfortable but, on the whole, it's a group effort, a collective effort and I just want to say thank you to everyone who's helped me," he added.

"The only way you get used to being long-term injured is being there before - and I've been there a few times.

Jonathan Davies
Jonathan Davies spent two years with Clermont Auvergne in France before rejoining Scarlets in 2016

"It's setting little goals, accepting what you have to get done in your work in your week. It's a tough process and a lot of the boys have gone through it.

"I personally think it makes you a better rugby player because you appreciate it when you get back on the field.

"We're fortunate to do what we do and, when you have a period away from it, you're very grateful to be back on the field."

Friday's friendly at Parc y Scarlets was a useful workout for Davies and the two sides, with a blend of youth and experience in each line-up.

Although the hosts were without the likes of Wales internationals Rhys Patchell, Liam Williams and Johnny McNicholl because of injury, they were able to include senior players such as Tom Prydie and Uzair Cassiem, who both scored tries as Scarlets led 15-6 at half-time.

In a match divided into two 20-minute sessions and one conventional 40-minute half, Ospreys fought back in the third period with a try from young fly-half Mat Protheroe, who started on the wing on this occasion.

Replacement flanker Sam Cross burrowed over from close range to give the visitors a 20-15 lead before another replacement, wing Ben Cambriani, scored with an interception to seal victory in the final play of the game.

Scarlets: Tom Rogers; Ryan Conbeer, Jonathan Davies, Paul Asquith, Tom Prydie; Sam Costelow, Dane Blacker; Phil Price, Marc Jones, Werner Kruger, Josh Helps, Tevita Ratuva, Ed Kennedy, Jac Morgan, Uzair Cassiem.

Ospreys: Dewi Cross; Hanno Dirksen, Callum Carson, Scott Williams, Mat Protheroe; Josh Thomas, Reuben Morgan-Williams; Rhodri Jones, Dewi Lake, Rhys Henry, Rhys Davies, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate, James King, Gareth Evans.

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