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Wales' Gethin Jenkins is top of the prop charts ahead of the Rugby World Cup

Published 31/08/2015

Gethin Jenkins became the world's most-capped prop in Wales' World Cup warm-up Test against Ireland
Gethin Jenkins became the world's most-capped prop in Wales' World Cup warm-up Test against Ireland

Prop Gethin Jenkins will be named in Wales' World Cup squad on Monday after moving to number one on an impressive all-time chart.

Jenkins, a veteran campaigner of the last three World Cups, will arrive at next month's tournament as the most-capped prop in rugby union history.

His appearance in Saturday's penultimate warm-up match against Ireland made it 120 games for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, which broke the record held by 2003 England World Cup winner Jason Leonard.

And at 34, Jenkins' appetite and enthusiasm for the game shows no sign of diminishing.

"Day to day, you have to manage your body and stay on top form. I just want to put a good performance in every time I put the jersey on," he said.

"It shows how old I am (featuring in a fourth World Cup). You don't get any prizes for playing, though.

"A couple of the boys asked if I played in 2003, when they probably weren't even watching. All the hard work we've put in builds towards this showpiece occasion every four years.

"It's obviously a nice achievement (cap record), but I want to keep building. You never value the jersey fully until you lose it. I want to keep going as long as I can.

"When Warren (Gatland) named the 31 for the World Cup four years ago, we had a lot of younger players coming through.

"Now, we are still quite young, but we're a lot more experienced as a group. The guys have got a lot of international rugby under their belts over the last four years."

Wales' 16-10 victory at the Aviva Stadium was their second in a row against the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions, and Jenkins' dynamic 50-minute contribution to that success underlined exactly why he remains such an important part of Gatland's plans.

He combined strong scrummaging work with a typically robust work-rate around the pitch as Wales posted a notable away win just four weeks before they tackle World Cup hosts England at Twickenham.

"Obviously, we've got a long way to go, but we were really pleased with the performance," Jenkins added.

"A lot of us were quite rusty and blowing quite hard, including myself. But the manner of the win was great from the boys.

"We wanted to build some momentum and put right the defeat of two weeks ago (35-21 against Ireland). We've got Italy next weekend, and then we are into the crunch games. Even though the result wasn't everything, to get over the line was a big boost that gives us some confidence.

"It takes one or two games for us to get into things, and we've been together for a while now."

Wales' win against Ireland took them above England and into fifth place in rugby union's official world rankings, but Jenkins dismissed any significance so soon to a World Cup campaign when England and Australia are among those countries blocking Wales' quarter-final path.

"Players don't look at the rankings," he said.

"Shaking hands with the Irish players when we came off the field, both teams knew there are bigger things coming up over the next few weeks."

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