Wales and Scarlets flanker James Davies has announced his retirement from rugby due to concussion. The 31-year-old, known as Cubby, has not featured since winning his 11th Wales cap against Georgia in October 2020.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career here at the Scarlets and made some amazing friends along the way, but after speaking to specialists it’s pretty clear I can’t go on playing rugby,” said the 31-year-old.
“At the moment, thankfully, I am able to lead a normal life, something I wasn’t able to do for a long time after the knock I had. Any bang to the head in training or in a game and I could go back to the start of all this, which is unthinkable for me.
“It has been a tough couple of years, but the support I have had from my family, friends, team-mates, coaches and the club has been incredible and I am hugely grateful for that.”
One of Welsh rugby’s great characters, Davies, will be remembered for his exuberant personality off the pitch but also for his quality on the field. With his freakish ability to win turnovers, handling skills honed on the World Sevens circuit, and selfless support play, he was an outstanding openside who proved integral to the Scarlets’ silverware success five years ago.
He made his regional debut in an LV Cup game against the Dragons in 2013, going on to make 101 Scarlets appearances.
Davies made his debut for the Scarlets in 2014 making 23 appearances in his debut season, 16 in the Pro12, scoring four tries and winning four man of the match awards.
His brother is Jonathan Davies, who also plays professional rugby union as a centre for Scarlets and Wales. His nickname is “Cubby”, in reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”.
This refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up.
In January 2018, Davies was called up to the senior Wales squad for the 2018 Six Nations Championship. He made his international debut on 11 March 2018 against Italy.
His final rugby match was Wales vs Georgia in October 2020.
He has also represented Wales Sevens and was part of the Great Britain squad that played in the Rugby Sevens tournament at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac lauded Davies as “one of the game’s genuine characters”.
Pivac said: “It’s very sad to hear about James’ retirement.
“I was fortunate enough to coach him at club, and international level and not only is he a good player, but he’s a great person.