Jenkins hails “world class” Jones as he approaches caps record

Neil Jenkins has paid tribute to Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, as the lock prepares to break Richie McCaw’s record of 148 Test caps.

Neil Jenkins has paid tribute to Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, as the lock prepares to break Richie McCaw’s record of 148 Test caps.

Jones currently has 147 – including nine for the British & Irish Lions – and will break it this autumn when the 2020 Guinness Six Nations resumes and the Autumn Nations Cup follows.

Jones made his international debut against Argentina in 2006 and has since won four Championship titles, including three Grand Slams.

Wales are out of the running this year but can still climb the table by beating Scotland in their Round 5 clash on Super Saturday.

Before that, Wales face France in a warm-up match and Jenkins was quick to praise the 35-year-old.

“It’s incredible really isn’t it? To achieve what he has throughout his career in the position he players in is incredible,” the skills coach said.

“He’s in the front five, one of the hardest positions you can possibly play on a rugby pitch, yet he still seems like a young kid if you ask me. He turns up to training, is first to everything, very rarely gets beaten in anything if he does at all. That’s the way he is.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with him since the Wales Under-21s back in 2006 and from then up until now he is just world class, one of the best to ever play the game and is going to basically beat someone [McCaw] who is maybe the greatest player, who knows?

“It’s an incredible achievement and whatever accolades come his way he definitely deserves that. I’d like to think he has a fair bit in him yet, but when the day does come and he is not wearing that jersey he will be sorely missed.”

Wales are set to name their squad to face France on Thursday and head coach Wayne Pivac has some decisions to make.

Centre Jonathan Davies could play international rugby for the first time in 12 months after injury at the World Cup, while flanker Josh Navidi is following concussion return-to-play protocols.

Full-back Liam Williams could be released back to the Scarlets in search of more game time as he also bids to return to fitness but Jenkins is keen to see what he can do.

“We’ll see how he goes. He probably does need game-time, there is no doubting that,” he added.

“I see quite a few members of our squad who can play minimal or no rugby, but turn up and win a Test match. Liam would be in that category. He’s a world-class player as far as I am concerned.

“Whether he is involved on Saturday will be another thing, but he is a class act and he is one of those guys who could step in if he needed to.

“It has been a pleasure to have Jonathan back. He has been a big player for us for a long, long time. Defensively, he’s huge for us, and he is such a weapon for us in attack.”