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Jenkins relishing role after succeeding Warburton in Wales set-up

 

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Gethin Jenkins is excited to get started

Gethin Jenkins is excited to get started

Gethin Jenkins is excited to get started

Wales great Gethin Jenkins has joined Wayne Pivac's backroom staff as technical coach for the breakdown and defence.

Jenkins replaces Sam Warburton, the former Wales captain who filled the post on a campaign-by-campaign basis but has decided to spend more time on other commitments.

A winner of three Grand Slams and participant on three Lions tours, Jenkins is among the nation's most decorated players and his international career ended in 2016 after 129 caps.

The 39-year-old retired from the sport in 2018 and has since worked in coaching roles with Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC, as well as overseeing defence for Wales Under-20s. His new role is full-time.

"I'm relishing the opportunity to get stuck into the international environment, working with quality coaches and players at the top of their game," Jenkins said. "I'm well versed on the demands of the international game and I'm looking forward to offering my input and where I can add to the environment."

Jenkins began work at the start of the autumn and has been operating in tandem with Warburton as part of a short handover process.

"For me personally, I have had time to reflect and plan during the lockdown," Warburton said.

"I feel that with a new addition to my family and business interests away from coaching, I can't devote the time needed in the role and so have decided to step away from coaching."

Meanwhile, England have left Ben Spencer out of their 26-man training squad for a three-day camp that will ramp up preparations for the autumn schedule.

Spencer has been outstanding for Bath since lockdown but Eddie Jones has overlooked the former Saracens half-back in favour of Ben Youngs, Willi Heinz and Alex Mitchell.

Jones has been able to select players from losing Gallagher Premiership semi-finalists Bath, plus Sale and Worcester, whose rearranged match last week was cancelled because of an outbreak of coronavirus at the Sharks.

Bath are well represented in the squad that will train in south west London, although they supply five of seven 'reconditioning' players.

A surprise call-up is their centre Tom de Glanville, son of former England captain Phil, but there is no place for his team-mates Ruaridh McConnochie or Joe Cokanasiga.

McConnochie's snub comes despite his try-scoring efficiency this season, but Cokanasiga is on the comeback trail from a serious knee injury.

England's autumn opens with the non-cap international against the Barbarians on Sunday week and continues against Italy in Rome six days later when the delayed 2020 Six Nations will be brought to a conclusion.

Those act as the curtain raiser to the Autumn Nations Cup, which has replaced the end of season tours.

"We had a good three-day camp last week working on the basics and developing our cohesion as a group," Jones said. "This week the focus is to raise the standard."

Belfast Telegraph