It's Serious Business Now for New Skipper Gethin as He Calls on Team to Dig Deep

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

It's Serious Business Now for New Skipper Gethin as He Calls on Team to Dig Deep


Byline: By Simon Thomas Western Mail

He's handled the mickey-taking, now it's down to the serious business of leading Wales into battle for Gethin Jenkins.

The new Wales skipper has had to put up with a fair bit of teasing from two former occupants of the post since his appointment.

His Blues team-mates Martyn Williams and Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas have both delighted in joshing the tighthead prop over his new status.

"I had a bit of stick off them last week, with them saying 'you've changed now you are captain,'" revealed Jenkins.

"They were just winding me up, trying to get to me. In truth, they've both been great about it and very supportive.

"Martyn has been my main port of call really. I've been on the phone to him asking for advice on how to take care of things and just getting a general feel for the job.

"I've also spoken to other people I play with at the Blues, like Xavier Rush, who I think is a great captain."

But, ultimately, Jenkins is looking to be his own man as he prepares to lead Wales for the first time in today's clash with world champions South Africa.

He admits the new role has provided him with plenty of food for thought, but insists he's relished the added responsibility - and he certainly hasn't been put off the idea of doing the job on a permanent basis.

"This week has been a great experience for me," he said.

"I've enjoyed leading the group and taking charge of the team.

"If in the future I am asked to do it again then I'd look forward to it and take on that role.

"There's obviously a lot more responsibility on your shoulders. It's just the fact that you are always being relied on.

"People look up to you all the time and are looking for you to have comments on things and to keep thing moving.

"Obviously, there is more stress. You are thinking a lot more, thinking how you are going to do things on that day's training.

"But you look forward to every day and to seeing how you can contribute to get the team gelling and performing to the best of its ability. I'm thinking of things other than just my own individual performance now."

Though hardly an elder statesman having just turned 27, Jenkins has enjoyed the responsibility of leading a younger squad than the one Wales had at the World Cup.

"There's a newish look to the team, and I'm probably one of the oldest in the side," he said.

"So it's been a lot easier for me to go out there and lead those boys. They do look up to me quite a bit.

"You do feel a bit of a buzz from the responsibility and I've enjoyed it.

"But, obviously, the main part of the week is coming up, with going out on that field.

"On the pitch, I talk quite a lot anyway, so I can't see myself changing much.

"If I'm not happy with how things are going I'm sure I'll speak up and tell people what I think. …

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