Jonathan Davies fully focused on leading Wales after Lions disappointment

Jonathan Davies was disappointed to miss out on a third British and Irish Lions tour but is focused on getting Wales ready for the summer internationals, not a potential late call-up to face South Africa.

The Scarlets centre was a surprise omission from Warren Gatland’s squad despite being voted player of the series by his team-mates in New Zealand four years ago.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac helped soften the blow by giving Davies the captaincy – in the absence of regular skipper Alun Wyn Jones – for the Tests with Canada and Argentina next month.

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England prop Kyle Sinckler has already seen his anguish turn to joy after an injury to Ireland’s Andrew Porter saw him added to the Lions squad, but that is not on the agenda of the 33-year-old from Carmarthenshire.

“Whatever happens, if there are injuries or not, my focus is with Wales,” Davies said from a training camp in North Wales.

“I want to make sure I give the best account of myself in the Welsh jersey in upcoming weeks. Whatever happens past that is out of my control. All I am focusing on is what I can control.

“Obviously I was disappointed not to be involved. The Lions has been probably one of the highlights of my career and the opportunity to go on a third tour would have been lovely but that is not to be.

“My focus changes now to make sure I am doing everything I can to prepare myself and the group for the upcoming summer series.”

Pivac included five uncapped players in his 34-man group but added another when Cory Hill was released from the squad to complete a shock move to an unnamed Japanese side from Cardiff Blues.

Hill’s absence, coupled with that of the 10-strong Wales contingent away with the Lions including captain Wyn Jones, puts added onus on the role of Davies.

But he added: “It is a huge honour to represent your country and to be asked to captain it is another honour as well.

“I have done it once before but to have added responsibility for this whole campaign is extremely exciting. I am really looking forward to it all and enjoying that bit more responsibility in and around the group.

“It will be a demanding three or four weeks in camp but we want to be tested and we want to keep growing for the World Cup in 2023. That has been clear message from Wayne, he wants to see us get uncomfortable and see how we react so the games will be exciting.”

Another boost for Wales is 8,200 fans will be present inside the Principality Stadium for each Test this summer, starting with Canada’s visit on July 3 and the double-headers with Argentina later in the month.

For some in the squad, like Dragons lock Ben Carter, it will represent the first time they have played in front of supporters after being handed debuts for their regions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is exciting to have the fans back. I am sure that eight thousand will make plenty of noise and it will be good to hear,” Davies said.

“To see people come back to watch rugby is great. It is an opportunity for boys to experience a bit of atmosphere in the stadium because some haven’t had that as they have been capped during Covid times. It is an opportunity for everyone to get that buzz back in the stadium.”

Manchester United fan Davies also had a message of support for the Wales football team at Euro 2020, who face Denmark in the last 16 at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday night.

He added: “We are actually allowed home this weekend but I am sure we will all be watching it in our living rooms. I have read fans are trying to get to Amsterdam but they are not quite getting behind enemy lines, I think.

“I haven’t spoken to any of the boys, but they are doing well. Hopefully we can get another result on Saturday.

“A lot of boys here love football and we are backing them the best we can. It’s great to see any Welsh side do well.”