Position: Back Row
|Date Of Birth||02/09/1965 (53)|
|Place Of Birth||Swansea|
|Height||191cm / 6' 3"|
|Weight||102kg / 16st|
Celebrated as the captain of the Swansea side that beat World Champions Australia in November 1992 at St Helens, Stuart Davies was born in Swansea on 2nd September 1965. A product of Bishop Gore School in Sketty and the South Glamorgan Institute, he made his Swansea debut in the 1983-84 season with just one appearance at No8 a position he was to make his own in club and international rugby. The match was at Gorseinon and he marked his debut with a try.
Stuart Davies played for Swansea for the following 14 seasons till his retirement through injury in 1998. During that long period of service to the club he played a total of 245 matches scoring 83 tries, an astounding record for a back row forward and an indication of his awareness of defensive gaps and great support play. He crossed the try line 9 or more times in 5 of those seasons and 13 times in 1991-92 when Swansea ended the season as Heineken League Champions.
During his career with Swansea Stuart played against New Zealand in 1989, South Africa in 1994 and the Barbarians twice (for whom he also held the distinction of representing twice in 1992 in Russia). But it was his captaincy of the Swansea side that beat Australia on 4th November 1992 which was the high point of his club career. Skippering a pack with a hard edge, Stuart led his side to an emphatic 21 – 6 win over the World Champions at his home ground. He said of that game:
“Even though there was no trophy involved, the win over Australia would have to be the peak for me. At the time we were a side who had been together for a long time. We had won the championship the previous year, ending a pretty long spell of underachievement, but beating Australia was something special. They were World Champions and they put out a strong side, but we raised our game superbly. Being captain that day was an honour no one can take away from me.”
Davies went on to captain Swansea again in the 1993-94 season when they reclaimed the Heineken League Championship. His time with the club also included a Welsh Cup win in 1994-95, a semi-final place in the European cup and another Championship in 1997-98.
Stuart represented Wales at U15, U16, U18 and U21 level before winning Wales B and Wales A caps. His fine club form won him his first Senior Welsh cap in 1992 in Ireland, another debut he marked with a try. Stuart went on to gain 17 caps as a back row for Wales between 1992 and 1998, his last coming against France at Wembley as the national Stadium in Cardiff was being rebuilt. He scored another try, against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 1993. He also represented Wales in the World Cup tournament of 1995 along with Swansea team mates Garin Jenkins, Anthony Clement and Robert Jones.
Quiet and unassuming off the pitch, Stuart Davies never gave less than 100% as a player and had his share of highs and lows in a career where success flowed at club level. His performance as a 24 year old against Wayne Shelford’s vintage All Blacks in 1989 when Swansea fielded a pack with little experience other than than Billy James, was exceptional and Swansea outscored the Kiwis in the second half to become the only Welsh team to score three tries against New Zealand since 1935. The club success against Australia and Championships were balanced against the disappointment of de-selection after the failures of the ’95 World Cup and the recurring knee injuries that side-lined him for long periods and eventually ended his career prematurely at the age of 33. Apart from a brief spell with South Glamorgan Institute, Stuart spent his whole career at Swansea and was a pivotal figure in what is arguably the club’s most successful period, certainly since the days of Billy Trew.
Stuart currently enjoys a career in the sporting media and is a regular TV pundit and contributes a rugby column which is always balanced and incisive.
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