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Jenkins insists there is still room for improvement despite impressive international campaign

International | 22nd November 2021

Ellis Jenkins insists he still has room for improvement, despite an impressive campaign in Wales colours over the autumn.

The Cardiff academy product made an impressive return to the international stage over the Autumn Nations Series, after more than two years on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Having made his comeback in the second clash against South Africa, Jenkins went on to captain his country in the wins over Fiji and Australia.

The 14-times capped flanker, who has a 100 per cent win record as Wales skipper, was pleased to end the series on a positive note, especially with a number of youngsters getting further exposure at this level, but says there is still room for improvement.

"I am over the moon to be back playing for Wales. That is the goal, then when you get there, your goals change and you want to be striving for better things, and now I am sort of nit-picking with the performances,” said the back row.

“I am more aware than anyone that I have still got stuff to work on, particularly physically. Coming back from an injury like that, my sole focus for so long was to get back on the pitch.

“Now, my focus is stay on the pitch and also improve myself that I can do what I believe is justice for myself. 

“It is not going to happen overnight, but hopefully it is hopefully a work in progress. 

"The plus is to finish the series with the win. We definitely made it hard for ourselves.

“It looked like we were chasing the game, really, when we were one point up, so a definitely a bit to work on there, but we are happy with the win.

"The try (for Nick Tompkins) from where I was on the pitch, it looked like it went backwards. There definitely wasn't enough to overturn the ref's on-field decision. It looked like it was going backwards.

"Anyone who has been in Kurtley Beale's position (yellow card), he knows he has gone to slap the ball. It's reaction. 

“Whether he has gone to catch it or not, but you go with one hand - he has gone for the tackle - but he knows that pass is being made, and anyone who has been in that situation would say the same thing.

"We are happy. The first two (games) got away from us. It was a big performance against South Africa, and probably New Zealand up until about 60 minutes was a good performance from us. 

“Ben Carter went on for 60 minutes and called line-outs in front of 70,000 people, and you can't get that sort of experience from training, so it is invaluable for him, and people like Taine and Christ. The more experience we can have, the better.

“It is good that we are competing with these teams, but to succeed in what we want, you have to be beating these teams regularly, and in the Six Nations as well, you have got to be beating those teams regularly. It was a tough run of autumn fixtures, and it was a good challenge for us.”

 Next up for Wayne Pivac’s side will be the Guinness Six Nations in the new year, where Wales open their account against Ireland in Dublin.

But with a return to club rugby on the cards, Jenkins refuses to look too far ahead and appreciates a lot could change by the time the Championship kicks off.

“I think we will probably be in a different position then, with some boys coming back from injury who have perhaps been out for a long time - some key figures for us - and no doubt there are going to be some injuries to the boys who have played during this campaign over the next eight-10 weeks, but it is a different campaign, a different challenge.

"Six Nations is competiton-mode, and we will be going hard out for every game. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. 

“It is something I am looking forward to, but there is a lot of rugby to be played before then.”