Howley hails ‘phenomenal’ Jenkins
Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:21
He's a very astute, intelligent rugby player
Wales attack coach Rob Howley says Gethin Jenkins is anything but a typical front row forward ahead of the prop’s 100th Test against Argentina on Saturday.
The 32-year-old hard man will become only the fourth Welsh centurion in history after Gareth Thomas, Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams after making his Test debut against Romania 11 years ago.
Howley said Jenkins was equal part brains and brawn and considered him to a "phenomenal athlete."
"He's a very astute, intelligent rugby player," Howley told the BBC.
"You look at his kick chasing [against the Springboks] on Saturday, and let's not forget about what he does at set pieces. Not that I understand a lot about scrum and line-out, but his ability around the field in attack and defence, and also in his kick chase, is incredible."
Jenkins is a three-time Grand Slam winner with Wales and made five appearances for the British and Irish Lions in 2005 and 2009.
He was included in the Lions squad for the tour to Australia earlier this year after captaining Wales to a record 30-3 win over England in the decisive Six Nations Test in Cardiff but was ruled out due to a calf injury.
In 2007, three days before Wales faced France, Jenkins’ mother Lesley died of cancer at the age of 49. He played in that Test and proclaimed "every cap and game is for her."
"His mum would be very, very proud of him and I'm sure there'll be someone smiling looking down when he runs out on Saturday," said Howley.
Coincidently, Jenkins and former scrumhalf Howley are the only Welshmen to have won both the European Cup and European Challenge Cup.
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