The chance to pull on the Blue, Black and White for the first time is a proud moment for any young man making his way in the game and it was no different for Rhys Davies as he made his Rec bow against Harlequins in the Aviva ‘A’ League in March 2018.
“It was good to finally make my first appearance for Bath.” begins the Wales U20 international.
“There were a few good things but also a lot to work on, it comes with playing at that intensity. It was surprising, but enjoyable to play with that step up.”
A strong Quins side left the Rec 19-28 winners, but the precious commodity of game time was not lost on Davies, who took the field with some of his peers who have had a taste of first team action already in their young careers like Josh Bayliss, as well as experienced internationals Rhys Priestland, Luke Charteris and Ben Tapuai.
For a Swansea-born Welshman who grew up adoring the game and idolising these players, it was an amazing experience, Rhys says: “It was a bit surreal playing with Charteris and Priestland as a Welsh lad - being on the same pitch as them! I pinched myself in the huddle - it was really good.
“It was a really strong team especially in the back row. Josh is where I want to be this time next year, signing that first team contract. I’m making my way there - that was a big milestone. I now want to kick on and play for both the Bath first team and Wales.”
As for all the young talent in the academy system, versatility is a key facet of the modern game in the second and back rows. Davies says he isn’t fussy where he plays - if the chance comes, he will be ready.
He said: “I like to think of myself as versatile - the second row and back row are getting quite similar - look at Maro Itoje and Nick Isiekwe at Saracens. Playing both is good, but I’ve played second row most of my career. I don’t mind playing six as long as I get through what I need to do and help the team.
“I’ll grab my chance, wherever! You can pick up a position especially when you have players around helping you out like we have here.
“Todd is willing to give us a chance - it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’re good enough you’ll play. Hopefully I can be the next player off the conveyor belt for Bath!”