|Born||24 October 1962|
Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire, Wales
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||12 st 4 lb (78 kg; 172 lb) |
|Position||Fullback, Wing, Centre, Five-eighth|
Jonathan Davies, OBE (born 24 October 1962) is a Welsh former rugby player who played in the 1980s and 1990s, and who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. A goal-kicking backline player, he played his club rugby in Wales, England and Australia. Davies has since become a television commentator for both codes and media personality, in both the Welsh and English languages.
Jonathan Davies was born in Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire on 24 October 1962, the son of Diana and Len Davies, who worked in Trostre, Llanelli. Davies started school at Trimsaran Primary School, where he was part of the Welsh medium class. His teacher Meirion Davies introduced him to rugby, and he started playing Sevens. Although he did not have the strong physique for the contact sport, his talent and flair for the game was recognised by many, including local great Carwyn James. He attended Gwendraeth Grammar School, where he met his first wife Karen Hopkins, whom he married ten years later.
In 1974 Davies played for the very first time at Cardiff Arms Park, when he was chosen for the West Wales Under 12s. He started his career at amateur level with Trimsaran RFC. His father Len had also played for and captained Trimsaran Rugby Club. Age 17, Davies left school and became an apprentice painter and decorator. After developing at Trimsaran, he was given a trial with Llanelli but was rejected. Neath gave him another chance and he signed with them in 1982, selected to play at fly-half.
After 35 games for Neath Davies was selected to play for Wales, against England at the Cardiff Arms Park. After scoring a try and a drop goal, Davies was named Man of the Match in the Welsh victory. He was made captain at Neath before being transferred to Llanelli. In 1988 Davies played a part in the Triple Crown success for Wales and between 1985 and 1997 he won 37 rugby union caps. Injuries during the 1988 New Zealand tour meant Davies captained the side in four games. The two Tests were lost by fifty point margins, although Davies did score a 90-metre try in the second. Davies was blamed in the media for the surprising Welsh defeat by Romania. As Llanelli placed pressure on him from the WRU to commit himself wholeheartedly to them, he decided for the best interests of his family to move to the rugby league team Widnes, who signed him for a record fee of £230,000.
Davies commenced his professional rugby league career during the 1989-90 Rugby Football League season with defending champions Widnes. He played for them as a centre in their 1989 World Club Challenge victory against the visiting Canberra Raiders. He was selected to play for Great Britain during the 1989-1992 Rugby League World Cup tournament. During the 1990-91 season Davies played left-centre, i.e. number 4, and scored 4 conversions in Widnes' 24-18 victory over Salford in the 1990 Lancashire Cup Final at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 29 September 1990.
In 1991 Davies took on a further challenge when he spent the summer in Sydney playing in the 1991 NSWRL season for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Davies played mostly as a fullback for the Bulldogs who were struggling to make the Semi-finals. He made an impact with the 'Dogs, scoring 100 points in his 14 games for the club (7 tries, 36 goals), including a personal haul of 18 points (2 tries, 5 goals) in the last round of the season against Cronulla at Canterbury's home ground, Belmore Sports Ground. Needing a win to force a 5th place playoff with Western Suburbs, the Bulldogs got off to a slow start and Cronulla took a 16-0 half time lead. Canterbury scored 26 unanswered points in the second half to win 26-16. In the playoff with Wests, Davies first stint in Australia came to an end with Wests winning 19-14.
Davies played stand-off, and scored a try, 3 conversions, and a drop goal in Widnes 24-0 victory over Leeds in the 1991-92 Regal Trophy Final during the 1991-92 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 11 January 1992.
During the 1994-95 Rugby Football League season Davies played fullback, and scored a conversion in Warrington's 10-40 defeat by Wigan in the 1994-95 League Cup Final at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 28 January 1995.
Davies again played in Australia when he signed with the newly-formed North Queensland Cowboys in 1995. He was unable to get out to Australia until midway through the 1995 Winfield Cup Premiership. He scored a full field try against the Newcastle Knights in Newcastle.
During his time in rugby league he represented both Great Britain and Wales, scoring a solo try in Great Britain's last victory over the Kangaroos at the old Wembley in 1994 where he sprinted 50 metres to score in the corner out-pacing Australian fullback Brett Mullins. Although he left the field with a dislocated shoulder during the second half, his efforts in both attack and defence (which on the day saw him pull off two try saving tackles) saw him named as man of the match. However the shoulder injury would keep him out of the rest of The Ashes series (eventually won 2-1 by Australia) as well as prevent him from playing for Wales in a friendly against the Kangaroos in Cardiff. With the Rugby Football League splitting the Great Britain team into individual nations (Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland) from 1995, the test at Wembley would be the last time Davies would represent Great Britain in rugby league.
Davies' last rugby league match was as captain of Wales against England in the 1995 World Cup Semi-final at Old Trafford, which Wales lost 25-10. Playing as a stand-off, Davies kicked 3 goals for Wales taking his total score for Wales to 21 points (10 goals, 1 field goal), all scored in the 1995 World Cup.
After the birth of daughter Geena in 1995, Davies' wife Karen was diagnosed with cancer. In need of family support, and as rugby union had turned professional, Davies went back to South Wales and signed to play for Cardiff RFC. On a guest appearance on A Question of Sport in 1995 he was asked what the biggest change was after returning to rugby union. Davies replied: "It's the first time I've been cold for seven years. I was never cold playing rugby league." In 1996, Davies was awarded an MBE and went with his family to Buckingham Palace to collect his award. In 1997, his wife Karen died.
Since retiring from rugby, Davies has worked in the media as a commentator and pundit in both codes, mainly for the BBC in both the English and Welsh languages. Since 2004 Davies has hosted his own rugby themed chatshow, Jonathan, on S4C, usually before Welsh international matches. Davies was also the President of Super League side Crusaders, until 2009, when he was replaced by David Watkins.
He is a supporter of the Wooden Spoon charity. In 2015 Davies was awarded the OBE for his charitable services to people with cancer through his role as president of Cardiff's Velindre Cancer Centre. He has raised the Centre's profile as well as raising more than £10 million.
|Cardiff||1996-7||Retired at end of season|
|North Queensland Cowboys||1995||9||1||19||1||43|