Danny Wilson hailed the impact of prop Gethin Jenkins, after the Cardiff Blues captain made a winning return from injury during Saturday's Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre.
The 129-times capped Wales international had been out of action since April’s Judgement Day win over Ospreys, and began Saturday's match in the front row alongside Matthew Rees and Taufa'ao Filise.
The prop's impact upon returning was no surprise to Wilson, who applauded the captain's professionalism and determination during the rehab period, and the Cardiff Blues head coach believes Jenkins is a perfect role model for the region’s glittering array of prop stars.
"A few senior players who were coming back that we've been waiting for a long time made a massive difference in terms of leadership and ruthlessness,” said Wilson.
“Hats off to Gethin Jenkins, considering he hasn't played since April, he was outstanding.
“I did say that we need to be patient, because he’s been out of the game for a long time, but he outdid that. I thought he was superb.
“He was back to his usual standard. His defensive work, work over the ball, he scrummaged well and that’s from a guy who’s been out for months.
“That was really pleasing and I’m sure it’s good for Welsh rugby to see him back playing as well as he played.
“When you spend day-in day-out with him you see how professional he is in terms of prehab, rehab, conditioning. It’s phenomenal.
“He literally puts hours into it to make sure his body is where it needs to be.
“He’s a role model to younger professionals. Some of our younger professionals need to look at what he does and understand if you want to keep playing until his age, at the standard he’s playing, you’ve got to learn from what he’s doing.
“He’s a credit to himself, is extremely hungry still to play at the top end of the game which clearly his did again [vs Zebre].”
Cardiff Blues' attention now turns to a fortnight of Anglo Welsh Cup action, where they visit Newcastle Falcons this weekend, before welcoming Ospreys to Cardiff Arms Park for a feisty derby on November 17. Make sure you grab your tickets for the clash, by purchasing HERE!