Written by Callum Walker
Despite bursting through the Wigan academy to make his debut in 2017, Tom Davies’ Rugby League career took many twists before that point, including a spell in the 15-man code.
“I actually used to play halfback; I always joke about being the only halfback that couldn’t pass,” he Davies’ told Everything Rugby League.
“I was at the Leigh Centurions scholarship, but they pretty much shut down the academy and reserves whilst I was there so I got released from that.
“I was 16 and I had nowhere to go; I had no Super League club after me, so I gave up on the sport altogether.
“I played for Wigan St Patricks under-18s and that’s where I met Glenn Sweeney whose being my individual coach since then.
“I do all my individual training with him like my speed drills; he really took me under his wing and helped me out.
“He’s coached more players than I can even name, but he had a connection at Rugby Union in Fylde and that’s where the move to union came in.”
Whilst playing for semi-professional side Fylde RFC, Davies only made his return to the 13-a-side game due to injuries, but it set the ball rolling for a Wigan move.
“It was a strange one to be honest; I played for the academy and second team at Fylde.
“I was going really well and I was enjoying it; it was something new and I got selected for Lancashire under-18s.
“I never made anything in terms of scholarships and service areas in Rugby League – in fact, I made more progress in six months in Union than ten years in League.
“But, George Williams’ dad, Peter, was the coach of Wigan St Pats under-18s and he rang me and said “I could do with you, we’ve only got 12 players”, so I said I’d play a game.
“I played for Lancashire Rugby Union on the Saturday and Wigan St Pats on the Sunday.
“I even did the same the week after with Fylde on the Saturday and St Pats on the Sunday. But, after that last game, a Wigan scout came and talked to me and said do you fancy a trial?
“I said I’d think about it and asked my mum, dad and Glenn and the people that were closest to me what they thought.
“Fylde were absolutely great with me – they supported me fully and held the door open for me if I ever wanted to come back.
“They helped me go forward and without their understanding, I probably wouldn’t have taken the risk.”
The rest, they say, is history and after impressing with the Warriors’ academy, the flying winger became a starter in the first-team as the cherry-and-whites won the Grand Final in 2018.
“I turned up at Wigan for my first session on a month’s trial in the last week of pre-season so at least I didn’t get flogged!
“After playing a few games, Wigan said they’d take me on for the year and things went from there.
“Winning the Grand Final is without a doubt the best moment of my life.
“Growing up I actually supported Leeds; I watched them in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Grand Finals and my dad took me to all of them.
“The Grand Final had a bigger meaning to me than the cup final did; that was the pinnacle.
“I had seen what Leeds had done and wanted to be in it so to be involved in 2018 and get the win was a dream come true and I’m very proud of it.”
At the end of 2019, it was time for a new challenge and Davies moved across the English Channel to sign with the Catalans Dragons, settling in seamlessly in the south of France.
“It’s been amazing, obviously, with COVID it’s been a bit more difficult with flying in and out of the country in one day.
“But, it’s been, without a doubt, the best year of my life; I’ve been very lucky as Steve is a great coach.
“I think a lot of him and he’s really enabled me to play the way I want to – he wants his outside backs to come in and carry and he likes the way I do things.
“On top that, we’ve got players like James (Maloney), Sam (Tomkins), Izzy (Israel Folau) and Joel (Tomkins) and they are pure class.
“Player-wise it’s been brilliant and even off the pitch the lads have really welcomed me – I get on well with them.
“Hopefully, the more I speak French, the more friends I can make outside the club too.
“The language has been difficult – it’s a lot tougher than I expected. Sam Moa gave his leaving speech at the last game and said it in fluent French and I thought “wow how good is that?!”
“Some make it look easy; I’ll go in a local shop for a Kitkat or something and it’ll be a ten-minute conversation whilst I’m trying to explain what I want!”