Wales: Gethin Jenkins replaces Sam Warburton in coaching team

Gethin Jenkins worked with Wales Under-20s in the 2020 Six Nations
Gethin Jenkins worked with Wales Under-20s in the 2020 Six Nations

Wales have announced Gethin Jenkins will join Wayne Pivac’s national coaching team and replace Sam Warburton.

Jenkins will take up the technical coach for breakdown/defence role, a position Warburton held for 11 months.

Warburton was working on a campaign-by-campaign basis and has decided to spend time on commitments away from coaching.

“I’m relishing the opportunity to get stuck into the international environment,” said Jenkins.

The former Wales prop is one of his country’s most decorated former players, amassing 129 caps for his country, winning four Six Nations championships – including three Grand Slams – and touring with the British and Irish Lions on three occasions, playing five Tests.

Since retiring in 2018, Jenkins moved into coaching, taking up roles with Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC.

The 39-year-old has worked with the age-grade and senior sides at Cardiff Blues and more recently was defence coach for Wales Under-20s.

“I would like to thank Richard Holland, John Mulvihill and Gruff Rees for giving me the opportunity to start my coaching career at Cardiff Blues,” said Jenkins.

“I would also like to thank Steve Law at Cardiff RFC for giving me free rein to experience preparing a team on a week-to-week basis.

“I’m well versed on the demands of the international game and I’m looking forward to offering my input and where I can add to the environment.”

Jenkins began his role at the start of the autumn campaign, working alongside Warburton, 32, for a short handover period.

Sam Warburton (left) was part of Wayne Pivac's Wales backroom team alongside defence coach Byron Hayward (right) between November 2019 and October 2020
Sam Warburton (left) was part of Wayne Pivac’s Wales backroom team alongside defence coach Byron Hayward (right) between November 2019 and October 2020

‘Great addition’

“I’m delighted to be welcoming Gethin into the coaching team. He has vast experience of the international game and is hugely respected,” said Pivac.

“Since retiring he has built a great reputation as a coach and has worked across different levels and age-grades of the game, most recently working alongside Wales’ U20 side.

“Gethin will be a great addition to the coaching team and will complement Byron extremely well in their respective roles and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“I’d like to thank Sam for his hard work over the last year and what he has given to the team and to Wales.

“I would like to thank him for his honesty regarding his future and the need to spend more time on other projects away from the game and wish him all the best in that.”

Jenkins joins former Wales internationals Stephen Jones, Jonathan Humphreys and Neil Jenkins in the backroom team, while Warburton says he will now focus on other projects.

“I would like to thank Wayne and the coaching team for the opportunity I’ve had,” said former captain Warburton.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and I’m excited for the future for the national team.

“For me personally, I have had time to reflect and plan during the lockdown and I feel with a new addition to my family and business interests away from coaching, I can’t devote the time needed in the role and so have decided to step away from coaching.

“What Wayne and his team are building is hugely exciting and I wish them all the best for the future.”

BBC News