The return of Josh Adams will hand Wales a boost ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series finale against Australia, according to skipper Ellis Jenkins.
Having originally been named at outside centre, Cardiff star Adams was forced to withdraw from last week’s encounter with Fiji after suffering a calf injury in the warm-up.
However, the British and Irish Lion has been passed fit to return to the wing as Wayne Pivac’s side bring their autumn campaign to an end against the Wallabies on Saturday.
Wales captain, Jenkins, spoke about his club team-mate’s qualities on both sides of the ball, highlighting his important leadership role within the group.
“Where do you start? He’s just class, he’s a world class finisher and he’s proven that on numerous occasions,” said the Cardiff back row.
“What people probably don’t see is how competitive he is and how angry he is. He’s very physical, he wants to defend.
“Quite often, particularly backs get the reputation that they like to attack and they don’t like to defend. But it really excites him, trying to smoke people.
“You can see he really thrives on the physical aspect of that.
“He’s probably grown over the last couple of years to become a lot more vocal. With his experience and his stature in the game... it comes with that.
“He’s one of the leaders throughout the team who is vocal and has a big say in things. He falls into that category.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him. His professionalism off the field is fantastic and it’s not a coincidence that he’s continuously improving and consistently excellent.”
With the autumn series drawing to a close, it’s been a significant campaign for Jenkins, who returned to the Test arena after more than two years on the sidelines with a knee injury.
And now the academy product hopes to sign off on a high against a dangerous Australian outfit.
“Yeah it would be very nice. We want to win every game we play,” added Jenkins.“It’s been a difficult campaign, particularly the first two games, but we’ve learned a lot. Lots of players have been given opportunities that they probably wouldn’t have gotten if everyone was fit.“That can be difficult in the short term but it pays dividends in the long term. With the nature of the game, you are going to pick up injuries and if we can expose the second or third choice players to international rugby in big games like New Zealand, South Africa, Australia in the stadium, in front of full crowds, then it means if they are called up due to injury then it’s not a new experience for them.
“They can take it in their stride a lot easier.“It would be great for us to win. With Fiji and Australia being in our World Cup pool as well, there might be a psychological advantage to be gained.“I’m not so sure, personally. There are two years between now and then. But it’s always nice to get one over on whoever you’re playing.
“They're a good team. They play a bit differently to the teams we've faced so far, a lot of deception and ball movement.
“With Michael Hooper being out, they've picked a very physical back row - with three sixes or eights in reality. They’re big ball carriers which will be a physical test for us.
“We can only read into that so much and just focus on our own stuff, being as accurate as we can, which is probably what has let us down over the last couple of weeks.
“Defensively we've been pretty sound, but getting your defence right is easier than getting your attack right if it's not quite going how you want it to.
“Hopefully it will be more of the same from our defence and hopefully we can put more continuity together in attack, go through some more phases and cause [Australia] more problems than we did [against Fiji] that weekend.
“A lot is made of back row battles, whereas in reality it doesn't pan out like that.
“It's more becoming a team thing, particularly the contact area. People talk about contact areas as if it's isolated, but it's dictated by the collisions and attacking shape, defensive mindset.
“I'm not convinced it makes that much of a change to anything. But what hasn't been good enough for us in the past couple of weeks is our accuracy in attack, which then makes everything else more difficult - winning collisions, which in turn makes winning the contact area more difficult.
“If we can get that bit right, it takes that size advantage away from them really.
“A loss at the weekend definitely doesn’t make the campaign a failure. In sport everyone always gets carried away with results.
“No one remembers the fact that South Africa lost a couple of games in 2018 before they went on to win the World Cup in 2019. Sometimes, it’s about the process and what the end goal is.
“We want to win and get two wins. The South Africa game could have been a win as well, there were just a couple of things we got wrong in the last 15 minutes which meant the game got away from us.
“If that hadn’t happened, we’d be having a totally different conversation. It’s easy to catastrophise things based on results, but we’re trying not to.”
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