He's beaten the All Blacks as a Llanelli player, he's won four league titles and seven domestic Cups as coach, but reaching the Heineken Cup semi-finals for the second time last year was the best moment of Gareth Jenkins' career.
Llanelli will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the day they beat the touring New Zealanders at Stradey Park this month, but Heineken Cup rugby is more important to Wales' most successful coach.
That's the emphasis Jenkins has put on his players reaching the heights in Europe again this season as they prepare to face Glasgow at Stradey Park in the first round this Saturday
"Our season last year was the best I've ever been involved in," said Gareth Jenkins.
"And that's as a direct result of the momentum and performances created by the Heineken Cup.
Llanelli have been Wales' leading light in Europe for a number of seasons and Jenkins hopes this could finally be their year.
"We have home advantage and the perfect opportunity to kick-start our campaign this year against Glasgow. But we have powerful memories of a great game against Gloucester which we lost two seasons ago in the first round.
"That day we paid the price for a lack of research, but we have not made the same mistake in our preparation this week.
"Both sides are capable of reaching the quarter-finals of this tournament and we don't expect it to be anything but difficult out there on Saturday.
"We have been able to name a full strength side for this match although, that said, we do have a different selection in mind for our trip to Bourgoin next week."
Scott Quinnell returns for the Scarlets after three weeks out for an operation on his nose, but Jenkins has played down his return to action concentrating instead on the full squad he has at his disposable
"Scott is an important player for us, but he is competing for his place in the side just like everyone else. It's good to see him back and playing, but it's good to see everybody back," added Jenkins.
Llanelli: Garan Evans; Mark Jones, Matthew Watkins, Leigh Davies (Captain),Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, Martyn Madden, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby, Ian Boobyer, Scott Quinnell
Replacements: John Davies, Marcus Thomas, Luke Gross, David Hodges, Guy Easterby, Mike Phillips, Gareth Bowen
Referee: Giulio de Santis (Italy) |
Previous meetings; Welsh/Scottish League - Glasgow lead 4-2 on wins, but only won at Stradey two seasons ago by 16-10. Llanelli's home wins were by 57-21 and 40-14.
Tommy Hayes has scored 272 points in 24 appearances for Glasgow, but they have lost in all three Cup appearances in Wales. Llanelli have 24 wins and 17 losses in the Cup with Stephen Jones scoring 371 points from 35 appearances. Chris Wyatt makes his 41st Heineken Cup appearance - more than any other Scarlet.
LLANELLI AT STRADEY: WON 16 LOST 2 IN HEINEKEN CUP
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