'Rollercoaster' Davies eyes Top 14 after exit from Welsh rugby 'mess'

football14 June 2024 03:10| © AFP
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Grenoble's Wales fly-half Sam Davies said he has experienced a "rollercoaster" season before Sunday's French Top 14 promotion playoff, having left the "mess" of Welsh rugby.

The second-tier ProD2 club have been hit with two points deductions for financial problems and director of rugby Aubin Hueber has been put on gardening leave in Davies' first campaign.

However, Grenoble are 80 minutes away from returning to the top flight for the first time since 2019 when they face billionaire-backed Montpellier.

"It would sum up the season to a T, being a rollercoaster and then getting a victory," Davies told AFP.

"But I'm not sure how many more rollercoaster seasons my heart can take!" the 30-year-old added.

Davies headed to France from the Dragons but remains eligible for Wales after receiving an offer below his market value from another region in the country before joining Grenoble.

The sport in Wales is suffering from budget cuts, highlighted with the Ospreys being the only Welsh side in the top half of the United Rugby Championship table.

"It was an opportunity to get away from Wales, the goldfish bowl, a sense of negativity, Welsh rugby is a mess in terms of the regions with talks of going down to two or three regions," Davies said.

"Fair play to the Ospreys they've performed well but the other regions have been well below par," he added.

In his maiden campaign in France the former Ospreys playmaker, who won the last of his 10 Wales caps in 2017, has had a superb campaign, combining ambitious playmaking and accurate goal-kicking.

He is second in the points scoring charts in the ProD2, a league which will welcome the likes of ex-Wales centre George North and former England internationals Courtney Lawes and Jonny May next season.

"It's incredible to see things in France, it's a breath of fresh air," Davies said.

"They'll allow you to make a couple of errors but in return you have to give them something back and that's what I've done this year," he added.


Grenoble welcome Montpellier to their sold-out 20 000-capacity Stade des Alpes after the visitors finished 13th in the Top 14.

Montpellier and their Syrian-born president in Mohed Altrad, who is among the world's 1 000 wealthiest people according to Forbes magazine, were Top 14 champions in 2022.

For next season, the southerners have reportedly signed former England forwards in Billy and Mako Vunipola and ex-Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, with their arrivals potentially dependent on playing in the Top 14.

The trio would add to a squad including South Africa scrum-half Cobus Reinach, ex-All Blacks George Bridge and Karl Tu'inukafe and giant France lock Paul Willemse.

"We do understand that some of the Montpellier players are probably playing for their livelihoods," Davies said.

"That's why there's pressure on Montpellier.

"We're very aware there's a desperate team coming into town on Sunday."



Grenoble v Montpellier (1600 GMT)