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End of an era as Wales medical team legend retires

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After 30 years’ service devoted to the success of the Wales senior men’s team, physio Mark Davies is retiring.

Joining as a member of the backroom team in 1992, no one has been part of more Wales men’s Test matches since then than Davies.

He has participated in seven World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours and former players he treated such as Neil Jenkins, Jonathan Humphreys, Martyn Williams, Stephen Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Huw Bennett became colleagues.

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Ask any Welsh rugby player of recent history for their views on the man known to everyone as ‘Carcass’ and you will be greeted with a warm response, such is the esteem in which Davies is held.

His rugby longevity has been truly remarkable and Davies will be greatly missed in the national squad set up.

Speaking about his decision to retire Davies said: “I glanced in the mirror once too often and saw my sell-by date.

“The decision to retire is mine. I realise I’ve had a longer run than I could have wished for, but the job is much more active than it used to be and there comes a time when you have to be honest and put your hand up.

“I’ve accumulated a number of ailments over the years which has required a new knee, hip and shoulder. I’ve had a number of fusions in both feet, so long gone are the days when I had four good wheels on my wagon. They are boney problems which is a bit ironic in view of my nickname.

“Somebody called me ‘carcass’ way back in primary school in Maesteg because some bright spark thought it summed up my anatomical state. I was skin and bone at the time and it’s stuck ever since.

“The boney issue now means I can’t get about as quickly as I used to.”

Mark Davies

While he may not be in camp with the squad come the autumn, Davies will still be keeping a close eye on how the men’s national squad fair in their four home Test matches, “It’ll be a wrench when the season starts and Wales play their next match,” he said.

“It’s going to be a little bit different and I don’t know how I’ll approach that. It is going to be a bit strange really, so I’ll have to wait and see on that front.”

Retirement brings new opportunities, however, and Davies is ready to embrace those, “I have my wife and a new cockapoo, so that’s my immediate on the horizon shall we say.

“Then I’m looking forward to a bit of golf and just chilling out getting a feel for things. I want to be as active as I can be really. I think that’s important for your own welfare.”

This summer’s historic win against the Springboks on South African soil for the first time is one of many recollections Davies has from his time with Wales, “The boys showed huge courage in these epic battles last month on three successive weeks, no mean feat against the Springboks.

“I have the kind of precious memories which no amount of money can buy, like the 1999 win over England at Wembley and the Grand Slam campaign of 2005.”

Mark Davies

Wales Gethin Jenkins has his strapping put on by physio Mark Davies in 2008

And while there are too many memories to single out one at the top, Davies is clear about what made the job so special, “I think the best thing about the job is the people you meet and the friends that you make really at the end of the day.

“The games are great highlights and they’re pinnacles to remember things from, but I think you make lasting friends in the game. For me obviously it’s been a lifelong experience, meeting up with friends and having very good memories to savour so that’s I think the thing that really stands out.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great coaching and management teams and our own staff as well which is almost like a bit of a family. So it’s very poignant and very difficult to leave that environment in many respects.”

Davies’ final campaign for Wales was the recent three-Test series in South Africa and he received a fitting send off from the squad and backroom colleagues, “Yeah the boys and the management to be fair they made it very special for me.

“It was very nice in terms of a send-off and very humbling listening to people saying kind words about you. I’m self-deprecating in that sense, so all those things you know I take a lot of them very personally and really appreciate those comments.”

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is one of 15 that Davies has worked with in his time in the national squad set up. Pivac believes Davies’ longevity is down to expertise and the person that he is.

Mark Davies

Mark Davies during the South Africa v Wales – Castle Lager Series in the summer

“The fact that Carc has been here as long as he has indicates that he has done a really good job. Someone that can go through the different eras and still be at the forefront of his game speaks volumes,” said Pivac.

“In the time I have been here, not only is he very good clinically but he’s also a really good bloke to have in and around the environment.

“He’s got a great sense of humour and no job is too big for him. He’d do anything he can to help the team, he’ll always put the team first.

“The players love him, the management love him and I think they broke the mould once Carc came into the position. In the area of his expertise he is a legend. Certainly a legend in Welsh rugby.

Pivac is one of many that will be very sad to see Davies retire, “I’d like to wish Carc all the best for his retirement and thank him for his time with us. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it – the working side of it but he’s also a fantastic guy to have a beer with or a wine.

“He will be sorely missed by this group, but hopefully we’ll be catching up away from work on a regular basis and he’s welcome to come back in at any time.”

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


6 Nations

Stewart Joins Ireland Squad In Portugal As Wales Prep Intensifies

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Ulster hooker Tom Stewart has joined the Ireland squad in Quinta do Lago to provide additional cover following a hamstring issue picked up by Ronan Kelleher. Kelleher will be managed by the Ireland Medical team over the coming days.

The uncapped Stewart is a former Ireland U20 international who played twice for Emerging Ireland in the Autumn, starting in the victories over the Griquas and the Cheetahs. The Ireland coaching group also included him in the match day preparations for the Ireland ‘A’ game against the All Blacks XV in November.

Stewart’s addition brings the number of Emerging Ireland tourists in the Senior squad to five – Jack Crowley, Joe McCarthy, Jamie Osborne and Cian Prendergast.

The squad will continue to train at The Campus in Quinta do Lago this week before flying to Cardiff on Thursday ahead of the opening round of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Ireland Squad, 2023 Guinness Six Nations:

Backs (17)

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)*
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 109 caps (c)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (20)

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)*
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 caps

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures

Wales v IRELAND
Saturday 4th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
VIRGIN / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage

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RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint Guinness Six Nations coverage, where the action will be free-to-air for supporters in the Republic of Ireland.

Kicking off on Friday, 3 February, this year’s Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland’s Men’s, Women’s and U20 tournaments.

The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year.

The 2023 Men’s Six Nations will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday, 11 February.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday, 26 March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits Rob Kearney, Fiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television), and RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip and Hannah Tyrrell.

RTÉ also confirmed that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year.

“It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Ireland Squad Named For 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship

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The Ireland Coaching Team have named a 37-man squad for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations Championship, which kicks off with an away trip to Cardiff to face Wales on Saturday, 4th February.

In Round 2, Ireland host France at Aviva Stadium looking to secure their first victory over Fabien Galthie’s side since 2019.  There was just six points between the two sides last year in Paris and France emerged the victors when they last faced off in Dublin the previous year, winning 15-13.

In Round 3, Ireland travel to Rome to face a resurgent Italy who have recorded wins over Australia and Wales in the past year.

Round 4 sees Andy Farrell’s side travel to BT Murrayfield to face Gregor Townsend’s Scotland and six days later, in the final game of the Championship, Ireland play host to England at Aviva Stadium.

Both of Ireland’s home games against France and England are sold out and all of Ireland’s fixtures will be broadcast live on free-to-air television and radio across RTE, VIRGIN, BBC, ITV, RTE Radio and BBC NI Radio.

Ireland finished second to France in last year’s Championship with four wins and five bonus points for a total of 21 points, claiming the Triple Crown for the first time since 2018.

There is one uncapped player named in the squad, Leinster’s Jamie Osborne. Osborne was first integrated into the Senior squad in November 2021 as a Development Player and has since featured for Emerging Ireland and Ireland A.

Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell commented: “The Six Nations is a huge competition for us and another opportunity for us to grow as group. 2022 was a busy year as we got to work with a larger group of players as we continued to build our squad depth and competition for places.

While there are a few players carrying knocks and others that have missed out on selection for the start of the tournament, they will have the opportunity to push their case playing for their provinces in the URC over the coming weeks as no doubt we will need to call upon the wider group as the tournament progresses.”

Ireland Squad, 2023 Guinness Six Nations:

Backs (17):

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas) *
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College)(captain) 109 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (20):

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 cap

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:

Wales v IRELAND
Saturday 4th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
VIRGIN / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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