French challenge for veteran Reds star Davies
ROD Davies was yesterday recovering from the Queensland Reds' mad Monday celebrations.
If Saturday's final round loss to NSW was a disappointing end to Davies' six years at the Reds, he can look back on a Super Rugby title and a Test cap and forward to a bright future in the south of France
"It's been a good ride," Davies said. "After six solid seasons, it's sad to leave such a big organisation but I'm looking forward to the next challenge."
The next challenge is a two-year contract with French first division side Biarritz.
While the rugby, culture shock and language will all test Davies' resolve, he could have hardly found a better place to go to get paid very well to play rugby.
Biarritz is on the Atlantic coast of southern France, just 20km from the Spanish border.
It is an enticing prospect but Davies was still sad to leave the Reds behind him.
"I would have liked to have stayed at the Reds but I'm looking after myself and my family. The time was right to move on," he said.
"You see a lot of Australian boys playing over there. From the financial game, it can be a lot better and it's a great spot I'm going.
"To go to a team that has been so successful in the past and is back in the top 14 is exciting."
Davies captained Ipswich Grammar School's 1st XV from fullback in 2006.
He took up a contract with the Brisbane Broncos the following year before joining the Reds in 2009.
"At the time I moved over, my first year in 2009 was really tough," Davies said.
"But I was always fully confident in the team we had and the right coaching staff to do a good job."
That team and coaching staff delivered the Reds their first Super Rugby title and Davies played a key role, scoring three tries in the semi-final.
"From 2010 to 2013, we were so successful," Davies said.
"To do it with a lot of guys I'd played with at school and put rugby back on the map in Queensland - I'm glad to have been a part of all that.
"And the way everyone got behind us in Queensland, I'll treasure that forever."
Davies played one Test when he was crucified in Australia's infamous loss to Samoa in 2011.
Since then his career has been plagued by injury but he has shown during the latter part of this season how effective he is when fit and in form. "Injuries have taken a toll on me," Davies said.
"It was part of my decision to go overseas. But my body feels good, which is the main thing at the moment. I would have liked to have had a few more Wallabies caps but it didn't work out that way. I have no regrets."