The Austin Gilgronis signed Canadian international XVs and 7s Cole Davis for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old wing (24 in July) is 6’2″ and 225 lbs.
Cole is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He played hockey before turning his attention to rugby in the 10th grade. He played youth club rugby with the Calgary Saints.
Following high school, he attended the Brumbies Academy for a year and earned a spot for their U20s team. He also played for the Canberra Royals. This led to his selection to the 2017 Canadian U20s squad that played in the World Rugby Trophy competition.
Cole’s performance led to his Senior National XVs inclusion where he made his debut against the United States at Sacramento, California on 10 February 2018 in the Americas Rugby Championship. The last of his five tests was against Russia at Nepean on 16 June 2018.
Cole also played for the Canada Maple Leafs in their 2019 South American tour to Chile and Uruguay. He then played for the Canada Sevens team during the 2019-2020 HSBC World Sevens Series,
Cole also attended Athabasca University in 2018 pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce Degree.
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“I’m looking to come over and win, make an impact and just play my role,” says Davis. “Winning it all would be huge, you don’t go to a new team without high expectations, so the onus is on us to put ourselves in the running, win games, make the playoffs, and have a run at the title.”
Davis is excited to chase a championship alongside a handful of Canadian teammates down in Austin. He gets coffee once a week with fellow AG signed Canadian winger, Jeff Hassler. Hassler played a role in influencing Davis’ decision to join Austin, as did AG flanker and fellow Canadian Moe Abdelmonem.
“Moe [Abdelmonem] has been down in Austin a couple of years, but I talked with him quite a bit before I signed with Austin actually,” says Davis. “He said he loved Austin and that the team went through a tough spot a couple of seasons back but that he had a lot of belief in the new group and that influenced my decision a lot.”
Sam Harris is loving the depth he’s now got at wing; pairing newcomers Jeff Hassler and Cole Davis with incumbents Rodrick Waters and Frank Halai. Harris loves what Davis brings to the unit, “Cole brings a big, fast and powerful body, and he has a big motor, which means a huge work rate off the ball – constantly looking for holes or mismatches; defensively he’s very confident in his read and tackle effectiveness.”
AG’s head coach Sam Harris also acknowledges there will certainly be a Canadian flare in the AG roster this season with three international-level additions to his roster in Jeff Hassler, Cole Davis join Moe Abdelmonem in Austin with one Canadian addition to be announced, “with four Canadians in the squad, there is a bit of a pipeline forming to Texas; what all four players bring is an international experience.”
Davis hopes to represent Canada in the next World Cup and is still able to represent Canada while playing in the United States for the AGs. Davis sought guidance from Rob Howley and other RugbyCanada officials, “I talked to the national body and coaches before making my decision and they said ‘of course, we want you to play at the highest level no matter where that is and we’re happy to support that,’ so Canada is definitely still a possibility for me.”
After high school, Davis jumped at an opportunity to ship off to Australia to compete in the Brumbies Academy, Immersion in Australian rugby culture, and selection into the Brumbies Under 20 squad.
Little did Davis know, a few years later it would be the Aussies that would come through for him once again. Amidst AG’s head coach Sam Harris’ vetting process, it was Davis’ former Brumbies coaches that would put in a good word for the hungry Canadian wing. “It was Cole’s 15s tape that caught my eye, but I also have friends that previously coached Cole,” says Harris. “He comes with glowing recommendations and I am attracted to players that have a hunger for improvement, Cole has that.”
A couple of months ago, Cole Davis was fielding phone calls from a handful of MLR teams but it was Sam Harris and Mark Gerrard that sealed the deal on the phone.
“I talked with the two coaches Sam [Harris] and Mark [Gerrard] and I got a lot of belief in what they’re building and what they’ve told me about ownership and it was something I wanted to be a part of,” says Davis. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the city of Austin and never heard anything bad, and I got the sense that the team that’s building here can do something really special this year.”
Welcome to the AGs, Cole Davis!