W.J.A. Davies

Born 21 June 1890, Pembroke, Wales
Died 26 April 1967, Richmond, England,


42nd player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
11 caps
Played against the Army in 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920, 1921,1922, 1923
Played against the RAF in 1920,1921,1923


Inter Service Record

Played 11 Won 8 Drew 0 Lost 3
Inter Service Titles 3

1911 Royal Navy 13 Army 22
1912 Royal Navy 16 Army 8
1913 Royal Navy 18 Army 8
1914 Royal Navy 14 Army 26
1920 Royal Navy 23 Army 11
1920 Royal Navy 12 Royal Air Force 3
1921 Royal Navy 11 Army 10
1921 Royal Navy 33 Royal Air Force 3
1922 Royal Navy 7 Army 3
1923 Royal Navy 16 Army 11
1923 Royal Navy 0 Royal Air Force 3



US Portsmouth RFC
Pembroke Dock Harlequins

Lieutenant Commander William John Abbott Davis Royal Navy was a member of England’s first Grand Slam winning team of 1913. He went on to win three further Grand Slams with England in 1914, 1921 and 1922. Some commentaries remark that he was unbeaten in his twenty two caps for England but unfortunately this is not the case as he was on the losing side when England faced the 1913 touring South Africans. That said it is still a remarkable achievement. His international rugby career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War One where he saw service on board HMS Iron Duke (once more a proud name in the Royal Navy’s fleet) and HMS Queen Elizabeth. His war service earned him the OBE in 1919.

Davies was not just an accomplished player he also went on to write a couple of books. The first, How to Play Rugby Football, was published in 1923 whilst the second simply called, Rugby Football, published in 1933.

There are anecdotes that Davies was a good enough tennis player to be invited to play at Wimbledon but he turned this down to concentrate on his rugby.

WJA Davies was one of the first inductees in to the RFU’s Wall of Fame and until overtaken by Rob Andrew was England’s most capped flyhalf. He has been touted by some historians as England’s greatest player – now that would start a debate!

Further information on W.J.A. Davies can be found in the section on C.A. Kershaw.

The 1914 England team with HC Harrison front row 3rd from left and WJA Davies front row far right. Image source unknown.