Jonathan Davies MBE
Jonathan Davies’ rugby career has crossed both codes of play. In 1982 ‘JD’ joined Neath RFC, later moving to Llanelli RFC. In 1988 he went North to play rugby league. Jonathan returned to the union code to end his career when he signed up for Cardiff RFC.
Born in Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire in 1962, Jonathan is the son of Len and Diana Davies. His father worked in Trostre in Llanelli and played centre for Swansea and Llanelli RFC. Len had also been made Captain of Trimsaran Rugby Club. Jonathan has one younger sister called Caroline, she was born in 1964.
At the age of five Jonathan joined Trimsaran Primary School where he was part of the Welsh medium class. Here he started playing Rugby Seven’s, having been introduced to this game by his teacher Meirion Davies. At this young age Jonathan didn’t have the physique for contact sport but he had an undoubtable flair for the game of rugby. This talent was seen and realised by Carwyn James – another rugby great that this area of Carmarthenshire had produced. In 1974 Jonathan played for the very first time at Cardiff Arms Park, when he was chosen for the West Wales Under 12’s.
Jonathan passed his Eleven Plus and was sent to Gwendraeth Grammar School. Here he met his first wife Karen Hopkins who he was to marry some ten years later.
At the age of 17 Jonathan left school and became an apprentice painter and decorator. Jonathan signed for Neath RFC in 1982 and after 35 games for the club he was selected to play for Wales. His first game was in Cardiff Arms Park against the age old enemy England. Jonathan gave a Man of the Match performance, scoring two tries in a Welsh victory.
Jonathan was made Captain at Neath before being transferred to Llanelli. In 1988 he played a very important part in the Triple Crown success for Wales and between 1985 and 1997 he won 37 rugby union caps.
In June 1988 Jonathan became a father when his son Scott was born. During this year he switched codes, leaving Llanelli to play for Widnes. In 1991 he took on a further challenge when he spent the summer in Syndney playing for the Canterbury Bull Dogs. In November 1992 his eldest daughter Grace was born and in 1993 he joined Warrington.
In February 1995 his daughter Gena was born – this was a time of great happiness and sadness for Jonathan and his family, as his wife Karen was diagnosed with cancer. As a result of this news the family moved back to South Wales and Jonathan played for Cardiff RFC – he was now back in the land of rugby union.
In 1996 Jonathan was awarded a MBE and went with his family to Buckingham Palace to collect his award. Sadly in 1997 his wife died.
Jonathan’s parents left Trimsaran and moved toCardiff so that they could help their son raise his young family. In recent years Jonathan moved into television and radio work, and has built his second career as a popular sports commentor in both Welsh and English. In August 2002 Jonathan married Helen inCardiff, with the best man role taken by his long-time friend and ex-rugby player Ieuan Evans.
Jonathan has also embarked on a career in motivational speaking where his talents are all too clear to see. His style is engaging, witty and as with his career, highly professional. Jonathan reflects on the highs and lows of his outstanding career, inspiring others on areas such as handling pressure, instinct and genius, teamwork and attitude. There is something in this presentation for everyone to relate to, which is why it is proving such a great success.