Falcons Academy back row on bench for semi final v South Africa
Falcons’ Academy back row Max Davies will be part of an England squad aiming to qualify for the World Rugby U20s Championship final this afternoon when they take on South Africa in Tbilisi and insists their status as reigning champions is not adding undue pressure.
England won three from three pool games to qualify for the knock out stages and keep the defence of the crown they lifted in Manchester 12 months ago alive and while emulating that feat is a target, Davies says the 2017 vintage are focused on creating their own legacy.
“There is a tiny bit of pressure with the boys doing so well last year, but we’ve got a massive focus on creating our own legacy and not dwelling on what was done by an entirely different team.
We took a Six Nations grand slam and haven’t lost a game so far which is massive so if we can do what last year’s 20s did that would be great, but there’s been no focus on that.”
Featuring in all three games of the campaign so far the former Sedbergh School pupil, who switched allegiances from Wales to England during the Six Nations has made a positive impression on the England coaches and is pleased with his progress to date.
And as the latest in a long line of Falcons to be involved in the competition in recent years, Davies hails the environment at Kingston Park Stadium for allowing him to shine.
“I’m really happy with how the competition has gone. I got the full eighty against Samoa and got some good feedback about that game and then came on against Wales and now will be involved in the semi-final.
“The club has done really good job of producing under 20s and preparing us for it so when we come here, out fitness levels and skill levels are really good. With Marko and Jimmy, they have been preparing us well and with Marko having involvement with the U19s, he has seen what it’s like from the other side.
“It’s also helped in the build-up you have individuals like Callum Chick, Will Welch or Will Witty around the club who you can always ask questions who have been involved with it before.”
Looking to Tuesday’s test against the South Africans, Davies acknowledges that the England camp had marked them as one of the tournaments strong teams but that they remain confident in their own abilities.
“South Africa have beaten some good teams and have some great individuals, but hopefully we can do that bit better than them. We’re confident in ourselves and what we can do, we’ve had some substantial wins against some great teams and beating Australia who are a good team and play quite similar to South Africa in certain ways.”
England’s World Rugby U20s Semi Final is live on ITV4 from 3pm