McBryde pays tribute to Jenkins
Published 15/11/2013 | 16:01
Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde believes prop Gethin Jenkins is still the pinnacle of the Welsh pack, even as he prepares to notch a century of caps.
The front-rower turns 33 on Sunday, a day after he reaches the 100-cap milestone against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.
McBryde admits the Cardiff Blues loosehead is now helping both players and management improve in the Wales squad and has backed the master scrum technician to keep on churning out top-level international performances.
McBryde said: "He's quite a serious character isn't he, that's to put it kindly actually.
"Gethin's been able to adapt to several new scrum laws in the game and to have been playing at the top level for as long as he has, in the position he is, and to be as effective as he has, that's just a glimpse into how intelligent a rugby player he is.
"He's been able to adapt his game and I thought last week he was the pick of the forwards really, in terms of his work-rate and accuracy.
"And he's a bit more comfortable in speaking in front of the group.
"It doesn't come naturally to some, but he's been able to share some of that wealth of experience, so as a team, both as players and coaches we're benefiting from that experience.
"Hopefully it will go as good as it can for Gethin, because I truly believe he deserves it."
Wales are without injured tighthead quartet Adam Jones, Craig Mitchell, Scott Andrews and Aaron Jarvis against big-scrummaging Argentina.
McBryde hopes to see Andrews and Jarvis fit before the end of the month, but backed Scarlets tighthead duo Rhodri Jones and Samson Lee to cope this weekend.
McBryde is comfortable with Jones' continued shift to tighthead, adding: "If he wasn't ready we wouldn't put him out there.
"We sat down with the coaches at the Scarlets, along with Rhodri, so it was a three-sided debate with regards to his future.
"He's shown enough in the time he has played at tighthead, he played against the Brumbies for us on our tour to Australia and he acquitted himself outstandingly well.
"He perhaps hasn't had that much opportunity at regional level, but he's been chipping away and getting better.
"So I think he fully deserves this opportunity.
"We're very fortunate to have not only Rhodri Jones but Samson Lee as well, who I think has been outstanding this season for the Scarlets.
"You've got two youngsters coming through there, and it's a fantastic opportunity.
"Between now and the next World Cup I can't see too many opportunities coming players' way, so when they do come, they've got to be ready to take it."