Gareth John James Jenkins (born 11 September 1951) is a former Welsh rugby union rugby player, and former head coach of the Welsh national team. After a long and distinguished career at Llanelli RFC, Jenkins was appointed Wales coach in 2006, succeeding Mike Ruddock. He was sacked by the Welsh Rugby Union on 30 September 2007, following Wales' failure to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He left the role with just six wins from twenty test matches.
|Birth name||Gareth John James Jenkins|
|Date of birth||11 September 1951|
|Place of birth||Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, Wales|
|Rugby union career|
Born in Burry Port, Jenkins played as a flanker for Llanelli RFC, Wales B side and the Barbarians. Jenkins also toured Japan with the Welsh national team in 1975, but was not capped.Gareth Jenkins became player coach of Furnace United RFC after he stopped playing for Llanelli RFC he coached FURFC from 1977 till 1982, the most successful era for FURFC being promoted from section E to C of the West Wales league. Jenkins coached both Llanelli RFC and the Llanelli Scarlets region from its inception until 2006 when he accepted the position as the coach for the Welsh national team.
Jenkins made 259 appearances for Llanelli RFC since his debut as a 17-year-old, before his career was cut short by injury at the age of 26. He was a member of the Llanelli team that famously beat New Zealand 9–3 at Stradey Park in 1972.
During his 24-year stint as coach of Llanelli RFC, he won thirteen Welsh Cup victories, a 1992–93 League and cup double (a first for a Welsh club) plus a win over the World Champion Australians in the same year. In 1998–99 and 2001–02 Llanelli won league titles and the newly formed regional side Llanelli Scarlets won the 2003 Celtic League Championship under his guidance. It was during this time he also led Llanelli to Heineken Cup semi-final places in 2000 and 2002. However, his team consistently fell just short in big games, notably in the Heineken Cup. He was also assistant coach of Wales during the 1993/94 season.
Wales national teamEdit
Jenkins was rejected when he applied for the job of coach to the Welsh national team in 2004, when he was seen as virtually the only serious candidate for the job. It was suggested that his insistence on bringing in his own backroom staff, who lacked the requisite experience and skill, cost him the job. Instead, the Welsh Rugby Union invited Mike Ruddock to apply for the post, even though he had not originally made himself available for the role. Ruddock subsequently coached the Welsh team to their first Grand Slam in 28 years.
Jenkins toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions as part of Clive Woodward's coaching team in 2005. In April 2006 Jenkins was named as the new Welsh national coach, under a two-year contract to succeed Mike Ruddock, who had resigned during the 2006 Six Nations Championship. His first duty was a development tour of Argentina, a young and inexperienced Wales side losing the series 2–0. His first home test match saw a credible 29–29 draw with Australia, but lacklustre performances against the Pacific Islanders, Canada and the All Blacks saw confidence dip and in the 2007 Six Nations Championship Wales slipped to 4 defeats including a 23–20 reversal against Italy. Jenkins finally got a victory over England on the final day of the championship by 27–18, denying England the championship, whilst simultaneously avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon; which went to Scotland.
A test match series in Australia followed, which was lost 2–0 and following a record 62–5 defeat by England at Twickenham, Jenkins came under increasing pressure from the Welsh media, but insisted his position and that of his under fire coaching be judged on performances at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Wales failed to qualify for the quarter finals of the World Cup, losing to second-tier nation Fiji 34–38. Jenkins tenure as Welsh coach came to an end the following day on 30 September 2007, informed of the Welsh Rugby Union's decision by chief executive Roger Lewis and chairman David Pickering at the team's hotel.
Gareth Jenkins is listed as Head of Development/Recruitment at The Scarlets' website