Taylor Davies relishing his opportunity in the front line

Rob Lloyd News

Before the 2019-20 campaign kicked off, Taylor Davies had made just one start in a Scarlets jersey – a pre-season outing against a Premiership Select XV in Llandovery.

This season, with Ken Owens and Ryan Elias away on World Cup duty, opportunity has come knocking and the hooker has responded by smashing the door through.

Davies has stepped up and taken his chance in style, featuring in all six Guinness PRO14 matches.

He scored a try on his first Championship start against Zebre and has been a prominent figure since, carrying strongly at the heart of the Scarlets’ forward effort.

Davies was voted the Scarlets’ forward of the match during last weekend’s last-gasp win over Benetton, taking home a meat hamper courtesy of Castell Howell, for his efforts.

Now he’s looking forward to only a second European appearance as the Scarlets prepare to open their Challenge Cup campaign at home to London Irish on Saturday evening.

“Competition is strong at hooker, it has been great to learn off the experienced boys, but you also want to be pushing them for the jersey,” he said.

“I am a local boy, was brought up in Llanelli, played for Llangennech Youth, it is fantastic to get a run of games with the Scarlets.”

Reflecting on the season so far, Davies added: “We had a long pre-season, but it was a good one. A lot of boys have enjoyed the fact that they’ve been thrown in and been told to go out and express themselves. For a lot of the younger boys that has paid off.

“It has been really positive. We’ve adapted to a lot of situations when we have been behind, or the game has been fairly close at the end.

“The message has been ‘don’t panic’, trust the system and what we’re doing and it will pay off.

“We’re also a very tight-knit group.”

Davies’s only previous European experience was 10 minutes off the bench in a thriller against Benetton two years ago – the season the Scarlets reached the semi-finals of the Champions Cup.

“We know it’s going to be another step-up against a good London Irish side on Saturday,” he added.

“The boys have been sharp in training and we’re all looking forward to the weekend.”

You can buy tickets for Saturday’s Challenge Cup clash with London Irish (7.45pm ko) here