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Jenkins looks ahead to Six Nations challenge

Ellis Jenkins of Wales lifts the James Bevan Trophy after victory over Australia

Jenkins looks ahead to Six Nations challenge

Ellis Jenkins insists defending Six Nations champions Wales will be a different beast come 2022.

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And the man who captained Wayne Pivac’s side to back-to-back autumn wins can’t wait for a real taste of the biggest competition in northern hemisphere rugby.

Wales were beaten by New Zealand and South Africa in their first two autumn games.

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But with Jenkins as skipper, they fought back to down Fiji and Australia.

Both those teams lost a man to early red cards.

Head coach Pivac labelled Wales’ campaign a success and he will hope to have several of his injured stars back for the Six Nations.

“I think we will be in a different position then with some boys coming back from injury who have been out for a long time,” said Jenkins.

“They are some key figures for us.

“The Six Nations is competition mode and we will be going hard out for every game.”

Jenkins returned to Test rugby for the first time since November 2018 this month after more than two years out with a horror knee injury.

His only past experience of the Six Nations is a 14-minute cameo as a replacement against Italy three years ago. Jenkins missed Wales’ 2019 Six Nations clean sweep due to his 2018 knee blow.

“I was in the stadium when they won the Grand Slam in 2019,” he added.

“It was a real bitter-sweet moment for me.

“To see them winning was obviously amazing, but not to be part of it was  disappointing for myself.

“It is something I am looking forward to.”

Iconic Wales leader Alun Wyn Jones is set to miss the start of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury suffered against New Zealand.

Jonathan Davies captained Wales for most of the All Blacks game and against South Africa before Jenkins came in to lead the team for wins over Fiji and Australia.

Wales had to rely on an 83rd minute penalty from Rhys Priestland to beat Australia despite the Wallabies losing Rob Valetini to a 15th minute red card for a dangerous tackle.

Pivac’s men scored tries through Ryan Elias and Nick Tompkins.

Australia still nearly won it when Kurtley Beale – who saw yellow for a first-half knock down – nailed what looked like being a decisive penalty.

The Wallabies had earlier scored tries through Andrew Kellaway, Nic White and Filipo Daugunu.

But Wales went straight back up the other end after Beale’s kick and Priestland won it at the death.

“The plus is the win. We definitely made it hard for ourselves,” said Jenkins.

“I am over the moon to be back playing for Wales, but I am more aware than anyone that I have still got stuff to work on, particularly physically.

“Coming back from an injury like mine, my sole focus for so long was to get back on the pitch. Now, my focus is stay on the pitch and also improve.

“It is not going to happen overnight, but hopefully it is hopefully a work in progress.”

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