Experienced Wales and Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies has capped a memorable three weeks off by being crowned the British and Irish Lions player of the series by his teammates.
After a 30-15 defeat in the first Test, the Lions showed fantastic character to bounce back and earn a thrilling 24-21 win in the second Test. All this before a late penalty by Owen Farrell earned the Lions a 15-15 draw in a nail-biting Test at Eden Park, and with it a share of the series.
Saturday’s draw also saw the All Black’s amazing twenty-three year winning streak at Eden Park come to an end.
Playing such a key role in a titanic series rounded off an exceptional end of season run for the Bancyfelin product who was outstanding in the Scarlets march to the Pro12 title. And a welcome return to form after an average Six Nations campaign.
Twenty-nine year-old Davies, who also starred in the Lions’ 2-1 series win over Australia in 2013, made five clean breaks during the series.
As well as being dangerous in attack, Davies was also accomplished in defence, making some key tackles during the series, none more so than his first half try-saving tackle on Ngani Laumape yesterday.
He also kicked intelligently, putting the Lions into the right areas and putting in some pressure-relieving clearances. While his distribution was top-notch, a beautiful reverse flick out of the back of his hand in the opening minutes of the second Test a highlight.
He was also on the field for every minute of the whole series.
“I’m very humbled. I’m chuffed to bits to get the award and to be voted by my peers.”
Realizing the significance of what he and his team-mates had achieved, the 64-times capped Davies added:
“We dug in, we achieved something special and I’m chuffed to bits”.
And with the future of the Lions a topic of much speculation, the Welshman feels that they should continue:
“Last week it was almost like playing in a home Test with the support we had. It think it can’t be questioned, the Lions is something so special, to players as well”.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena