A SCARLETS rugby player has retired with immediate effect due to head injuries.

James Davies, known as Cubby and from Bancyfelin, has not played rugby since winning his 11th cap for Wales against Georgia in November 2020.

The 31-year-old flanker, whose brother is Wales and Lions centre Jonathan Davies, has seen specialists who made it clear he was unable to play again due to concussion.

In a statement on the Scarlets’ website, Mr Davies said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career here at the Scarlets and made some amazing friends along the way, but after speaking to specialists it’s pretty clear I can’t go on playing rugby.

“At the moment, thankfully, I am able to lead a normal life, something I wasn’t able to do for a long time after the knock I had. Any bang to the head in training or in a game and I could go back to the start of all this, which is unthinkable for me.

“It has been a tough couple of years, but the support I have had from my family, friends, team-mates, coaches and the club has been incredible, and I am hugely grateful for that.”

He has made 101 appearances for the Scarlets since his debut against the Dragons in the LV=Cup in 2013 and played on the World Series sevens circuit where he captained the team. He won silver at the Rio Olympics with Team GB in 2016 and competed in the Commonwealth Games.

He made his Wales debut against Italy in 2018 and was selected alongside his brother for the World Cup squad for Japan in 2019.

“I have some amazing memories in a Scarlets shirt,” he said, citing two wins in Dublin in 2017 – one against Munster where the Scarlets won the Pro12 title and picking up man-of-the-match the week before after moving to the wing to replace Steff Evans who was red carded. It was in that match that the Scarlets became the first side to win an away semi-final in the Pro12.

“Obviously those two weekends in Dublin, La Rochelle at home, when I also had to play on the wing! Toulon at home in Europe, Bath away, beating Munster at Thomond Park that year, they all stand out.


“But I will remember the boys and the stuff off the field just as much. There are team-mates, some who have come and gone from the Scarlets, who I consider lifelong friends. I will miss all that banter, although I’m not sure the boys will!”

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He also thanked the fans for their support throughout the years. He said: “I’d like to also thank the fans for all their support throughout my time; hearing them chant my name motivated me every day to get myself back on that pitch to play.”

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Cubby has been a great Scarlet, a phenomenal player who gave everything for the shirt and a huge character around the group. 

“Even when not playing, he has been enthusiastic and fantastic around the squad. He loves the club and loves everything about the place and just wants to help the side improve in whatever way he can.

“We have all seen how hard he has worked to try and get back on the field. It has been tough for him because you know how much he has missed playing, but a person’s health always has to come first. I’m sure Cub will continue to have a big impact on rugby, the game needs his knowledge and foresight. We all wish him well with what comes next.”

Scarlets General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels said: “Everyone knows Cubby for his outstanding performances in a Scarlets shirt and for his uniquely mischievous character. He hasn’t always conformed but he has always been true to himself which is something to be greatly admired.

“However, not everyone will know what a top bloke and good human being he is and those qualities will stand him in good stead for the next chapter in his professional life. He is also one of the most determined people I have ever met. I have no doubt he will be as successful in future as he has been to date and I wish him the very best.”