"He's Got a Bright Future" - Gareth Davies Backs Wales Protégé Jacob Beetham After Debut Against Springboks - Ruck

“He’s Got a Bright Future” – Gareth Davies Backs Wales Protégé Jacob Beetham After Debut Against Springboks

Despite coming away on the losing side of 41-13 score-line, Wales fans do have something to be very excited about following their defeat to the Springboks. One stand out moment from the Summer Series opener at Twickenham, was the Test match debut of Cardiff young-gun Jacob Beetham.

Beetham was awarded with his first Wales cap, following an eleven minute cameo at the end of the game. The match was all but decided as a fixture following Beetham’s arrival, which allowed the young Cardiff man the opportunity to express himself and play without any fear. The 23-year-old ensured to get his hands on the ball, and made a few good touches to distribute the play along the back-line.

One man who was impressed by Beetham’s performance, was Wales scrum half Gareth Davies. The Test match veteran was delighted to see the youngster progress into the national set-up, and believed that Beetham looked comfortable throughout his albeit brief outing. Speaking to RUCK following Wales’ defeat to South Africa last Saturday, Davies discussed Beetham’s constant improvement, as the Cardiff man has adapted his regular fullback position for a spot in the match day 23.

“Jacob, he’s an outstanding player, so talented. I’ve watched him play for Cardiff for the last couple years when he’s come through. He can play in a lot of positions, which is a fantastic talent. He covers 10, the centres, wing, full-back, nearly across the whole back line!

“So, in fairness to him, he hasn’t played much at 10. I know he was a little bit stressed in the week trying to learn the calls at 10, as well as 15 and centre. So no, to be fair to him, he came on in the last 10 or so minutes, and I thought he his confidence was good. I think he’s got a very bright future.”

Gareth Davies of Wales during the Summer Nations Series Rugby match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

It was an interesting one for Wales last weekend, as Warren Gatland’s men leaked two early tries and dropped down to 13 men mid-way through the first half. Rio Dyer and Aaron Wainwright were sent to the sin bin, which forced the on-field players to adapt their game plan and hold out until coming back to full strength.

Despite looking vulnerable at times when the Springboks hit their full stride, Wales held firm whilst undermanned, and did not concede any points despite the numerical disadvantage and lack of experience against the back-to-back Rugby World Cup winners. Speaking on this impressive defensive display, Davies said;

“It’s a strange feeling. Like I’ve already said, for the first half I thought we were outstanding. There were two yellow cards as well. I thought we manage them really well. In the past sometimes we tend to lose the plot a little bit when we lose a man, but I thought we managed the game really well.

Gareth Davies of Wales during the Qatar Airways Cup match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium in London on 22 June 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

“When we were down a man or two in that first half, we played in the right areas, which is a big learning for us from a few games in the Six Nations. We spoke a lot about over playing too much in the Six Nations, in the wrong areas of the pitch, and I thought our half backs managed the game really well.”

“It was always going to be a tough game. As soon as they (South Africa) named their team in the middle of the week, we all thought, ‘well, not a bad team that,’ we got excited. The amount of experience that they’ve got in that team of World Cup winning players, and the amount of young boys that we had in our team, you know, three or four new caps today? So, no, I thought for majority of the game, I think we can be quite proud of the effort that we put in, but it wasn’t quite good enough. But like I said, proud of majority of the effort.”

Gareth Davies of Wales kicks upfield during the Qatar Airways Cup match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium in London on 22 June 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Wales will soon be heading down to Australia, as they embark on a two match Test series against the Wallabies. Gatland has an enticing battle on the touch-line, as he gets set to put his game plan against former Ireland and New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt. Davies recognises how the new-look Wallabies will pose a significant threat, but the scrum half is eager to head ‘down under’ and showcase his side’s capabilities against some very different opposition to that of the Springboks.

“It’s going to be an exciting challenge for us. We’ve got a lot of new faces in our squad as well. So you could say that we’re in a similar sort of boat (to Australia). A lot of players coming back into contention for selection as well for those two games. So you know, the competition for positions in the squad is going to be good, which only makes us stronger as a squad. We can be quite confident going over there, hopefully.”

“It’s going to be a different challenge, obviously. We’ll probably have to tweak a few things tactically compared to how we went into this game. But yeah, it’s an exciting challenge, a lot of new faces in the squad as we all know. It’s going to be great learning for everyone.”