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Davies hails hard work and support off the pitch as key to forwards’ success

Lark Davies with her player of the match award

England hooker Lark Davies pinpointed the hard work of the forwards off the pitch as key to the strength of the Red Roses pack during the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

The Grand Slam champions’ lineouts and rolling mauls have been a standout feature of their attacking play throughout the Championship, with a number of the Red Roses’ tries coming directly from Davies’ throws, including all three in the deciding match against France.

Davies said she has relished playing and training in such a competitive environment and has reaped the rewards with success on the pitch, even if it means teammates such as Sarah Bern scoring plenty of tries instead of her.

“It’s so pleasing,” said Davies, who started all five of England’s games in the 2022 Championship.

“Every time I go out on the field, I just want to do my job and do it well and I feel like I actually did that today.

“I’m probably the hardest person on myself but I want to put the team in the best position, and I think in the lineout and the scrum we did that.

“My job is to throw the ball, make sure it gets in and if I get on the back of it and score a few tries that’s great.

“But we just want to put the points on the board and do our best as a forwards pack and if that’s Berner [Sarah Bern] going over the line then she can take them – more than happy for that!”

There had been plenty of focus on England’s set-pieces going into the Championship, but the Red Roses appear to have found solutions for any problems they may have had, and Davies was full of praise for forwards coach Louis Deacon.

“I couldn’t fault him in terms of his coaching and attention to detail in everything we do,” added Davies.

“He really pushes us, he challenges us, and he gives us the tools that we need to go out and perform on the pitch.

“He’s come in and really elevated our performance. Credit to him in terms of coming into the role and helping us out and making sure we’re the best team possible.”

The 27-year-old also pointed to the friendly competition that comes from the strength of the other players in her position, such as Amy Cokayne and Connie Powell as a key factor in the constant improvement demonstrated by the Red Roses.

“Between me, Amy, Connie, we’ve got Maud [Muir] that can throw as well – we want to support each other, we want to push each other, we want to challenge each other,” said Davies.

“I’ve got huge respect for the other players in my position, Amy is world class in terms of what she brings, Connie coming through an incredible youngster she’s still so young.

“What a privileged position to be in, to be challenged, to be pushed by two great players.

“We all get on really well, we all chat to each other, we all want to try and make sure that we’re pushing each other in training and we get the best out of each other to make sure we perform on the pitch.”

Davies’ throws proved key once more for Simon Middleton’s team, as Bern crashed over from a maul 10 minutes in, after Romane Menager opened the scoring for France with just three minutes on the clock.

England repeated the trick again twice more before the break with Abbie Ward and Bern going over from almost carbon copy plays to give the Red Roses a comfortable lead, but Davies stressed that France gave them a tough test.

“It was a lot harder than it looked,” added Davies.

“The mauls weren’t particularly pretty, they weren’t exactly what we wanted from it but we still managed to find a way to score.

“Exactly the same with the scrum, they caused us a few issues for the first few but we problem-solved it and did really well to come out of that.

“They definitely fronted up with us, we knew it was going to be difficult but really pleased in terms of how we reacted to it.

“It was massively physical out there and we just want to keep focusing on ourselves, keep pushing forwards, keep trying to get those performances in.

“We know it wasn’t perfect out there today, we left a lot out there. It’s a really cool place to be as a team, we keep building, we keep moving forward.”