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Winning drop goal thanks to years of practice

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Last-gasp drop-goal gives Wales narrow win

Fly-half Sam Davies says years of practice have gone into the successful drop-kick that earned Wales a last-minute 33-30 win over Japan.

Davies, 23, came on to replace Gareth Anscombe to win his second cap after his debut in the defeat to Australia.

The sides were level 30-30 when Davies struck an 80th-minute drop-goal to secure victory.

“I was just thankful to get the opportunity to do it, hero or villain. Thankfully I was the hero,” he said.

“It’s the kind of kick you visualise, winning a game for Wales.”

Ospreys fly-half Davies’ last winning drop goal was for Wales against England at under-16 level, but he says the left-footed strike is the sort of kick he spends hours over on the Ospreys training pitch.

“Not only that, but going back years to [Davies’ junior club] Penclawdd, practising,” said Davies.

“In fairness to the boys, they set a good platform for me to put the drop-goal over. The message came on, but I already knew it may come down to a drop goal [after Japan levelled at 30-all].”

Davies, the son of former Wales centre and coach Nigel, admitted he had to suppress his smile to a certain degree because of the disappointment over the performance in the dressing room.

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“I was trying to keep it in, to be honest, in the changing room, because I knew the boys were feeling a bit down, but I’m pleased to put it over,” he said.

“Dan [Biggar] came over and we get along well so he congratulated me. It’s back to the training paddock now to have a kicking competition.”

Biggar is likely to return to the squad when Wales face South Africa on Saturday with Davies and Cardiff Blues’ Anscombe, who started against Japan, competing for the other fly-half berth in the matchday 23.

Davies was named World Junior Player of the Year in 2013, but being behind Biggar in the Ospreys pecking order has meant a slower graduation to the Wales squad.

“I’m 23 years of age so I see myself as quite mature and I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve grown into the Ospreys team in the last couple of years and hopefully I can kick on with my Wales ambitions,” he told BBC Wales Sport.

More needed against South Africa

Davies is realistic about the team’s shortcomings as they prepare to face South Africa, even though the tourists arrive in Wales on the back of a first defeat to Italy, having lost 20-18 in Florence.

“It’s going to give us a little bit of confidence but realistically the performance wasn’t where we needed to beat South Africa. We’re going to have to be a lot better,” he continued.

“Hopefully I’ve done enough [to stay in the matchday squad], but I’m enjoying this ride at the moment. There’s a lot of things going on and hopefully that can keep on going positively for me.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38041090