Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Sam Davies believes his time spent playing with Dan Biggar early in his career had a formative role in helping him become only the fourth man to score 1,000 United Rugby Championship points.
The 28-year-old kicked 13 points to take his total to 1,005 in the competition under its various guises as the Dragons collected only their second win of a challenging season, upsetting the Scarlets 38-27 in Llanelli on Saturday.
Only Biggar, Dan Parks and Ian Keatley had reached the 1,000-point marker before Davies achieved the feat.
Davies played alongside Biggar at the Ospreys for several years and the fact he has hit the milestone is perhaps even more impressive when you consider the quality of his competition for kicking duties in the early part of his career when both men were available for selection.
But he believes the “competitive edge” between the pair was mutually beneficial, with Biggar racking up a record 1,585 URC points before he departed for Northampton in 2018.
“A lot of the time they would accommodate me and Dan by playing Dan at 10 and me at 15, which meant I wasn’t kicking, so he was getting to score all the points!” Davies told the PA news agency.
“But he was a very good kicker and he remains world class to this day, if not even better than he was back then.
“It definitely drove me on. I think it drove both of us on, if I’m honest.
“It’s good to have that competitive edge in training, especially as a youngster, and I’d like to think it pushed both of our games on.”
Biggar is the current occupant of the Welsh 10 jersey and chalked up his 100th cap for his country during this year’s Guinness Six Nations.
Davies, by contrast, has been limited to just eight Test caps despite being a dependable performer at regional level, with Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Priestland and Callum Sheedy among those ahead of him in the pecking order.
“If you read into it too much, I think you can get frustrated,” said Davies, who won all of his eight caps in an eight-month period from November 2016 to June 2017.
“I thought I played well at the start of the season and maybe there was a door in there with a lot of the 10s being out injured, but it wasn’t to be.
“When it’s not to be, there’s nothing you can do about it other than go out and try and play as best as you can.
“Things can change quickly, so I’ll always play at my best level and if anything comes off the back of that then brilliant and I can add to the eight caps that I’ve got.
“If not, then it’s just about trying to give the best for the team that I’m in, and that’s the Dragons.
“There’s a lot of outside-halves in contention with Wales at the moment, so unless your team’s going well as an outside-half, I suppose it’s going to be tough to push your way into selection talks.”
Parks and Keatley have, like Biggar, topped 1,500 points in the URC, meaning Davies has a way to go if he is to break into the top three.
“When you climb over one mountain you’re at the bottom of the next,” Davies added.
“That’s the thing with achievements – there’s normally someone out there who’s done a little bit better.
“I’ll try and chase them down. There’s some really good names in there.
“It makes me feel a bit old if anything, but I’m glad I’ve been able to get to this milestone and long may it continue.
“It’s certainly a milestone I’ll look back on when I finish my career and it’s one that I’ll cherish.”