Hall of Fame Inductee - Neil Jenkins

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by Cymro, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Cymro

    Cymro Guest

    Full Name: Neil Jenkins [​IMG]
    D.O.B: 8 July, 1971
    Position: Fly Half and Fullback
    Country: Wales (87 caps, 1049 points) and British Lions (4 caps, 41 points)
    Clubs: Pontypridd, Cardiff and Celtic Warriors

    As the first man to reach the 1, 000 mark in test matches, Pontypridd's / Cardiff's / Celtic Warriors' / Wales and British Lions Neil Jenkins (aka "Jenks" and "The Ginger Monster") was quite simply a points scoring machine and one shudders to think how Wales might have fared in the 1990s and early 2000s without his trusty right boot was not there. Neil Jenkins scored points behind a team that was poor, un-coordinated and at times lacking the right passion.

    In an amazing career spanning eleven years, Neil Jenkins saw off several rivals in his position, notiably Arwel Thomas (in which a debate was sparked in Wales much similar to that of Rob Andrews or Stuart Barnes), Mark Ring and Stephen Jones to name a few and held innumerable records upon his retirement in 2004. His amazing records include most points scored (1, 049) prior to Wilkinson at the 2008 Six Nations, most penalties (248), most Welsh caps (87) and most tests at fly half (70)

    Neil Jenkins made his debut at just 19 years of age against England in 1991 alongside another teenager who would also become a great Welsh rugby legend, the combative centre Scott Gibbs. England dominated an uninspired game but Jenkins did have the consolation of scoring his first three points courtesy of a penalty. This game can be regularly seen on ESPN Classic's channel.

    [​IMG]Neil Jenkins was also a big legened as part of the Lions scence also. Jenkins went on the 1997 British Lions Tour to South Africa, playing out of position at full back in all three tests, which he came under much media attention of only catching one ball from up and under situation prior to the Second Test. His extremely accurate goalkicking enabled the Lions to beat the Springboks during the first two tests, and thus secure the series 2-1.

    In 2001 went on the tour to Australia with the Lions, but was carrying an injury, and was replaced in the test team by Jonny Wilkinson (who would later pass Jenkins as the leading points scorer in test rugby) to become the preferred fly-half and goalkicker. However, Jenkins did gain his fourth Lions cap as a late replacement in the second test. Leading Jenkins to have made 4 Lions Apperances scoring 41 points in total.

    'Jenks' also played his part in the entertainment that form part of all major rugby tours - "Court Sessions". Especially known for his brillaint preformance in the Lions Tour of 1997. Indeed, as part of the tomfoolery, Jenks gave a superb impression of Prince Ruprecht from the Michael Caine film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", complete with eyepatch and fork whilst Keith Wood and Ieuan Evans both dressed in drag!!!

    In 1999 against Grand Slam seekers England at Wembley that Neil produced one of his best performances, landing eight successful kicks including the winning conversion. Miles Harrison would later recall of the England match in his book Grand Slam: "After the interval, Jenkins unlocked the near perfect English defence with a pass borrowed from Barry John's kit bag and Shane Howarth scored the try to bring Wales right back into the game." England still looked in control until centre Scott Gibbs eluded several weak tackles at the death to score a famous try. All Wales needed now was for Mr Reliable to convert the try, something Gibbs believed he would do; "When Neil was lining up to kick I didn't feel any nerves at all - I had total faith in his ability". The statement made by Gibbs was true of that of players such as Matt Dawson who was deeply impressed with Jenkins on various Lions Tours.

    However in 2002, he was granted a swansong when he led Wales out with his daughter Georgia in a match against the Barbarians. It was his 100th match for Wales including non cap appearances. His final Welsh capped apperance was for Wales against Romania in 2002.

    In 2003 Jenkins ended his long tenure as a Welsh player when he was not called up for selection to the 2003 Welsh World Cup Squad.

    "Playing international rugby and pulling on that shirt - there's nothing like it" - Neil Jenkins, shortly after retiring.

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    Original nomination by Cymro

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