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First team exposure a benefit to young Bath star Ryan Davis

30 December 2004

30 December 2004
A real bright ray of light has emerged from the injury gloom at Bath Rugby in recent weeks in the shape of 19-year-old Ryan Davis.

Davis, a former Colston's Collegiate pupil, a National Junior Academy member and a graduate from the Bath Rugby Academy, has experienced a whirlwind start to his career at the club as a professional player. Drafted into the first team squad early in the season, the England Under 18 player soon found himself starring in the Zurich A league for the club's United side, before being called up as a shock selection at full back in the Powergen Cup game against Quins owing to Bath Rugby's mounting injury problems.

Having played admirably on his debut in a 33-7 victory over the London side, Ryan expected to be back on bench duty for Monday's Zurich Premiership match against high-flying Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park. However with Olly Barkley withdrawing at the last minute with a back injury, Davis was brought in to play inside centre and again acquitted himself well scoring a second half try and tackling his heart out in defence.

Speaking to the youngster said that he has experienced a dream start to life at Bath Rugby. "It has been awesome really," admitted Ryan. "I have been given my opportunity through injuries at the club but I have really enjoyed the two chances that I have been handed."

"Before the season I set the goal of having some sort of first team involvement, but those goals have really shifted now. The Quins game was all about the experience and enjoying the game, but the Sale game on Monday was a step further than that in terms of setting goals."

Having reverted to inside centre, Ryan faced his biggest test to date against the highly-effective centre combination of Todd and Baxendell. Having come into the side at the last minute the player had very little time to consider the task ahead before taking to the filed for his first Zurich Premiership match. "It was nerve-wracking, but I soon settled and thought about doing the basics well. Playing against centres Robert Todd and Jos Baxendell, who are both great players, was a real experience for me and also a real test. Luckily with the use of decoy runners they did not attack my channel too often."

Despite scoring a second half try Ryan said that he was disappointed not to have come away from Edgeley Park with a win, but says that the team are determined to make amends on New Year's Day. "It was disappointing not to win, but we have a great team spirit at the club and we are all focusing on Saturday's match against Saracens at the Rec."

*Bath Rugby's New Year's Day fixture against Saracens at the Recreation Ground (2.15pm) is a 10,500 sell-out. All five of Bath Rugby's previous Zurich Premiership matches at the Rec this season have been sell-outs.