Jenks Set To Return For Wales In Second Half Against Baa-baas
28 May 2002 16:36pm
Neil Jenkins will resume his international career after a 13 month injury lay off when he turns out agains the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Cardiff fly-half is set to play in the second half against the rugby nomads, who are still reeling after being blown away by England by seven tries to five at the weekend.
The Millennium Stadium clash comes just two weeks before Wales take on South Africa during a two-test tour.
And the return of their record-points scorer from a knee injury will provide a huge boost as they attempt to bounce back from a plummeting dip in fortunes which has tarnished their reputation as an international force.
"I can't wait to get back on the international field," said Jenkins. "It has seemed like a lifetime but now I have returned, it feels great.
"I am not one hundred per cent fit yet but that will only come with playing games.
"But the future is looking bright for me now and I would love to get back playing regularly for Wales.
"Our boys will be fired up for this game as playing the Barbarians is always a special occasion."
Steve Hansen takes his new-look side into tonight's game, insisting it represents the first game of the summer tour.
The under-pressure coach has been charged with reviving the fortunes of the side following his Â£200,000-a-year appointment.
And he has thrown his full weight of support behind Jenkins who, he confirmed, will make a second-half entrance.
"We will be hoping for some fireworks from Jenkins," Hansen quipped.
"I know I said it would be a big ask to expect him to play international rugby straight away but we don't have any alternative stand-offs.
"He has trained very well and is so eager to get back playing.
"He is a true professional and I have been so impressed with his attitude. I am hoping his experience will rub off on the other players.
"This is an important game as it will give us the opportunity to do the things we want to achieve on the tour of South Africa.
"Everybody will be answering questions and it's how they deal with them which will determine how much rugby they will be playing on tour."
The Barbarians side will be without All Black stars Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen who both returned home after the Twickenham defeat.
Meanwhile, Wales have selected ten players from the team that started this season's Six Nations defeat to Scotland at the Millennium Stadium.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.