Wigan's Anna Davies relishing England opportunity: 'It's the ultimate goal'

After suffering a nasty foot injury as a youngster during her time as a national sprint hurdler that took a gruelling five years of recovery, Anna Davies thought her time in sport was over.
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But the now Wigan Warriors outside-back has grabbed her second chance with both hands and is hoping to earn her first England cap this weekend against Wales.

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Having dedicated her younger years to athletics, Davies won four medals before a stress fracture curtailed her ambitions and sidelined her for an extended period.

Wigan's Anna Davies is tackled by Leeds's Sophie RobinsonWigan's Anna Davies is tackled by Leeds's Sophie Robinson
Wigan's Anna Davies is tackled by Leeds's Sophie Robinson
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She only touched a rugby ball for the first time in her early 20s, going on to play for Bath Ladies before making the code switch to rugby league.

Davies represented Great Britain Teachers in her first game in the sport against the Armed Forces and was shortly after invited to join Wigan’s women’s team where she has spent the last three seasons.

And now she has the chance of representing England, having been named in Stuart Barrow’s 20-strong player squad for Saturday’s international double header in Leeds.

“I had dreams and ambitions of doing athletics at a high level,” Davies admitted.

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“But I broke my foot and was out of sport for about five years. For me, I never thought I’d be able to play sports at a high level again.

“It is now really satisfying to have that chance to be playing with these girls in the England camp.

“I never thought that would come again. It’s a second chance that some people don’t get, so in that way, it’s all the more enjoyable in that journey. I can see it as that gift.”

Davies scored a hat-trick for GB Teachers against Wales in only her second game of rugby league and a first senior call-up will be a full circle moment for the Nottingham-born player, who was also a part of the inaugural England Women’s Knights squad last year.

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“The ultimate aim is to get that debut and play for England,” Davies continued.

“But the whole process and being a part of an England camp has been the next step for me.

“For me, it’s still early days in terms of that development as a player and just being here is a big achievement personally.

“I trust the head coach that he wouldn’t have called me in if I wasn’t ready for it. It is a challenge and it’s going to stretch me, but I think that’s part of being an international athlete and I want to get better. That challenge is what I want.”

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Working for Wigan Warriors' Community Foundation by day, Davies also helps inspire the next generation of players, something she relishes as a career.

“I’m in schools and the kids I teach know I’ve gone into the England camp and I chat to some of the girls and they have aspirations of doing sports as a career and we have chats about how that’s now a possibility.

“One of the kids wrote me a card and said that he was proud that I was his coach. It’s nice for them to have this excitement.

“Playing for England would just be a real joy, a privilege and an honour.

“It is the ultimate goal and it would be wonderful to fulfil that."