Fully fit flyer wants to fire in 2013 Super 15
OLDER, wiser and more importantly, fully fit, Rod Davies plans on using 2013 to remind people just what he is capable of.
After a breakthrough 2011 on the wing for the Queensland Reds, which included a Super 15 grand final win and Test debut, things began to go downhill for the former Ipswich Grammar School First XV captain.
His test debut, against Samoa a week later, didn't go how anyone would have wished.
The Wallabies' lack of preparation showed and they were beaten in a shock upset.
The Wallabies were awful and Davies, provided with dreadful service all match, paid the price.
He was dropped for the following week's Test against South Africa, has not been picked since and spent much of that time injured.
So it was with a point to prove Davies resumed pre-season training with the Reds on Wednesday
"I'm fully fit for the first time in a while," Davies said.
This time a year ago Davies tore his hamstring in pre-season training.
Then in April he was forced under the knife to repair a knee ligament injury.
He then took the chance during the off-season to have much needed shoulder surgery.
"I've struggled with my shoulder for the past two years," he said.
"I had a reconstruction in the off-season, which was needed for a long time.
"Before that I got my knee done, which put me out for the rest of the year last year."
With his body healed, Davies' mind has been equally cleansed of the anguish the past 18-months have brought.
"Especially with the shoulder done I've got a bit more confidence now," he said.
"And my knee's real good.
I've had a good off-season and am looking forward to the trial games and staking a claim for a starting spot.
"I've had a good off-season and am looking forward to the trial games and staking a claim for a starting spot."
Davies was a first choice on one wing for the Reds in 2011, with coach Ewen McKenzie placing a high value on his scorching speed.
But in his absence Luke Morahan and Dom Shipperley have established themselves as Wallabies and 19-year-old Chris Feauai-Sautia stamped himself as the next big thing at the Reds.
"They've come in and done a real good job," Davies said.
"But I was doing well until I was forced out with injury.
"So hopefully I can do the same thing they have."
The Reds open their 2013 campaign with a trial match against the Auckland Blues at Toowoomba on February 2 and Davies is doing all he can to ensure he is heavily involved.
"No one's really nailed a spot," the 23-year-old said.
"If I play two full trial games there's no reason I can't."
Davies' memories are not pleasant from his one Wallaby appearance.
On the end of a backline continually shuffling sideways, cramping him and passing him the ball with no room to move, Davies was easy meat for the bone-rattling Samoan defenders.
"Obviously I've got to put that in the past," he said.
"But that's where I want to be.
"That's why we all play footy.
"But my short-term goal is to get a starting Reds spot.
"I've got full confidence in myself.
"I know I can do it again. I've just got to get my head right.
"It all starts with the pre-season and the trial games are very important."