"We're ready to peep over the other side of the mountain," said the veteran of 59 Tests. "We're nearly there and we're ready to plant our flag on the summit. And I think we'll do that at 5.30pm on February 5th next year.
"The players have to be positive after Saturday and a performance like that can kick-start some big things for a team. They were damned unlucky not to win - they couldn't have done any more than they did and a big win is just around the corner."
The Swansea hero who anchored the pack together during the glory days of 1999 when France, England and South Africa all fell to Wales, admits that losing can become just as much of a habit as winning, but feels the confidence in the Welsh camp will overcome a poor recent record at the top level.
"Everyone's saying that we just need a bit of luck, but great teams make their own luck," Jenkins said. "What Wales showed on Saturday was that they are a class side - and now they know that. They're confident young men and that's a good thing.
"After all the losses and given our record against New Zealand, it would have been easy for the players to talk themselves out of things, but you could see they didn't."
Jenkins said New Zealand were a perfect example of good teams making their own luck.
"Graham Henry made a huge statement by playing youngsters at 8, 9 and 10," he said. "He did that despite the fact that everything before the game pointed to a Wales win, and he's done New Zealand rugby a big favour by blooding those players."
Jenkins said the only area where Wales weren't competing with New Zealand was in the rucking stakes, with locks Gareth Llewellyn and Brent Cockbain coming in for some brutal treatment on Saturday.
"I played a season in New Zealand in 1988 and it was a fantastic experience, but it really is a cardinal sin to kill the ball over there," he continued. "They are a lot better at cleaning the players out than we are, but I thought Wales were superb at the breakdowns.
"As well, (referee) Tony Spreadbury controlled the match superbly. The players were getting rucked out of the way and the touch judges were coming on to complain, but Spreadbury refused to reverse the penalties for over-vigorous rucking - and that's how it should be."
Jenkins said the gap between Southern and Northern Hemisphere rugby was "definitely closing". "Saturday was a great spectacle, and I'm backing Wales to arm-wrestle our way to a win over England to kick-start the Six Nations campaign."