Blog Banner

Jenkins thrilled by family double ahead of Six Nations

18th January 2018

It has been a week to remember for the Jenkins family.

On Tuesday, Cardiff Blues favourite Ellis was named in Warren Gatland’s NatWest Six Nations squad, after returning from hamstring surgery, and a day later his youngster sister Katie was named as a development player in the Wales Women’s squad.

Jenkins was pleasantly surprised by his inclusion in the 39-man squad but he knows he now has competition within the family with rising Cardiff Blues Ladies star Katie also called into the national set-up.

He said: “It was a bit unexpected, but it’s nice to be involved. I'd been out for a long time and although it’s always a goal of mine to be in the Welsh national squad, it was a question of whether time was against me.

"But I've been pleased with the way the last couple of games have gone, I’ve done enough to be involved and now I’ll keep working to improve during camp." 

"They've picked lots of back-row options but I think that's good for the squad. It's an attritional position as well, so you need lots of strength in depth. I’m looking forward to getting involved and rubbing shoulders with the other boys and putting my hand up for selection.

“It’s good for Katie to be involved and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. She’s worked hard and travels a lot – she’s up in university in Liverpool and comes back three, four times a week for training.

"I'm really chuffed, seeing her enjoying it and improving as much as she is, is really nice and she’s looking forward to it. It's a common subject to talk about over the dinner table now.

“It’s funny, she’ll come to me after a game and say ‘I thought you did this really well’, or ‘why are you doing that?’.

"She thinks she can criticise my game now, telling me what I did well and didn’t do well, but she's always asking for tips as well. 

“Hopefully she’ll get involved and I can go to watch.”

But before any thoughts of Six Nations action come to mind, Jenkins’ focus rests solely with Cardiff Blues and their final match in the group stages of the European Challenge Cup.

The Blues have already qualified for the knockout stages with a game to spare thanks to an 18-13 victory over Toulouse but are unlikely to secure a home quarter-final, having navigated their way through the ‘Pool of Death’.

But they will travel to Lyon targeting another French double to maintain momentum and he is relishing the opportunity to play for silverware once again.

He said: “That’s why you play and train so hard to play rugby, you want to compete at the highest level and compete for honours.

“To give ourselves a chance of progressing now through the knockout stages is something we’re definitely proud of but we know it’s knockout rugby now and will be a big challenge.

“The other groups have gone against us really with regards to the away quarter-final but we approach it (Lyon) as you would with any game. You are going there to win, to put in a performance and it’s an opportunity for us to give people a little bit of a rest, other people game time where they haven’t played so much, myself included.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to try a few things that we have been thinking of bringing in but the games were too important to try things, we can experiment a little bit.

“We’re not sure what Lyon will bring because they are out of the competition. We’re not sure if they will put a weakened team out or try to get a bit of a running start into the league.

“It will be a different game out there. We have to go there and front up because at home they will be extremely proud and the surface could be a little bit different.

“But we’re in a good place from our last couple of performances and just have to carry that on.”