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Jenkins calls for 80-minute JDV performance

8th April 2017

Gethin Jenkins has called Cardiff Blues to produce an 80-minute performance against the Ospreys on Judgement Day.

The Blues face their Swansea-based rivals at the Principality Stadium on Saturday following a well-deserved draw against Ulster.

Jenkins clocked 76 minutes at the Kingspan Stadium and will take confidence from an impressive performance in which Wales’ Capital Region could count themselves unlucky not to get the full share of spoils.

Sam Warburton crossed the whitewash in the first-half and man-of-the-match Rey Lee-Lo claimed a brace before Luke Marshall’s late converted try levelled the scores.

In recent weeks the Blues have also taken Guinness PRO12 leaders Leinster to within a point, and controlled affairs against Gloucester for 55-minutes before falling away.

And Wales record Test cap holder Jenkins, who is returning to full fitness following his own extended lay-off, insists the Blues must rediscover a full performance against their Welsh rivals.

He said: “It’s a big game every year. The Ospreys are flying high at the top of the table and we’ve got a pretty dismal record against them in the last five or six years. 

“We’ll be looking to put a good performance in. We pushed them hard for 50 or 60 minutes earlier in the season and then fell away. The challenge for us is to stand up to them and play for the full 80.

“We had quite a few defensive lapses against them last year, and I guess it was the same against Gloucester. 

“They’ve got some quality players we’ll have to keep an eye on, but we need to focus on ourselves, our defensive policies and make sure we keep our energy and chat going for 80 minutes.”

Since returning from a ruptured bicep from the bench against Leinster, Jenkins has now started against both Gloucester and Ulster.

He feels stronger with each game but insists it will take time following the frustrating lay-off, which saw him miss the Six Nations for the first time since 2010.

And he is determined to help Wales’ Capital Region to a strong end to the season as they target a play-off place for the chance of European Champions Cup rugby.

Jenkins continued: “I’m obviously quite a long way off where I want to be, but that will come with match fitness.

“We’ve got four or five games left with the Blues and there’s no substitute for matches under your belt. I’m looking forward to getting back to where I was before the injury in the autumn.

“It gets tougher as you get older but with this being a different sort of injury – upper body – I was still able to run and keep a certain amount of fitness going. I wasn’t able to do much contact for three months, that was the frustrating thing, but it’s coming back quickly. I’ve done a lot to get back up to speed.

“You do have your dark days, it’s a lonely place when you’re injured and you’re in the gym a lot with a small group. At the Blues, sometimes that can be an annoying group with Lewis Jones and Dan Fish! 

“Everyone is asking how your injury is and you’re not having much interaction with the rest of the squad. But that’s also what makes you stronger as a person and for when you get back playing.

“I was frustrated to miss the Six Nations, it was quite bad timing for me. I’m just happy to be back on the field, amongst the team and getting that buzz back. I’m looking forward to Ulster (last Friday) and then the Ospreys.”