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'Part of me will always wonder what could have been': Ellis Jenkins

By Josh Raisey
Ellis Jenkins bridged a lengthy gap to return to the Wales team (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former Wales captain Ellis Jenkins has said that he “will always wonder what could have been” if he had not suffered his career-threatening knee injury in 2018, after announcing his retirement on Monday.

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The 30-year-old confirmed through his club Cardiff that his season will be his last in professional rugby.

The ACL injury suffered against South Africa in 2018 was a contributing factor to this decision, as Jenkins told the Cardiff website that his “knee still requires a lot of management,” and that he is no longer able to train how he likes.

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The injury in a man of the match performance against the Springboks kept Jenkins out of action for more than two years, and though he did return to captain Wales in 2021, it curtailed a career that was tipped for greatness. A return of only 15 caps is not reflective of the potential the flanker had.

Jenkins took to social media shortly after his retirement was announced, where he said that his comeback from the knee injury is something he will be proud of, but he is in the same position as much of the Welsh fandom in wondering what could have been.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to play rugby for a living for the past 13 years but I have decided that this season will be my last,” he wrote.

“To represent Cardiff Rugby from the Blues academy days until this final season has been an honour. Cardiff Arms Park is a special place with incredible supporters and a huge amount of history. My last home games on Saturday will be emotional and running out to a packed Arms Park is something I will really miss.

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“I also loved having the opportunity to represent Pontypridd RFC after growing up watching Ponty and the Celtic Warriors at Sardis Road.

“Playing for Wales is something I imagined as a kid while I practiced my goal kicking for hours and hours after training for Llanttwit Fardre. Although I never got to kick the winning penalty in a World Cup final as planned, to represent Wales was a dream come true. To do so multiple times as captain is something not many people get to do and will always be something I am extremely proud of.

“I’ve met some amazing people throughout my career who will be friends for life, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way. I’ve learned so much from so many people and you’ve made me a better player and a better person.

“A special mention goes to my parents. From driving me to academy training before school and to different sports every day after school, to travelling all over the world to watch me play for Cardiff and Wales, I can’t thank you enough.

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“Also to my wife, Sophie, thank you for always thinking I was the best player on the pitch, regardless of how I’d played, and for supporting me through the highs and lows throughout the years. Thank you especially for your support and encouragement when things weren’t going my way during rehab and I was ready to give up.

“Part of me will always wonder what could have been if I hadn’t got injured in 2018, but fighting back to play for Wales and the Principality Stadium again after over two years out is also something I look back on with pride.

“I always thought this would be a tough decision but in truth it isn’t. I guess when you know you now. I am excited to start the next chapter of my life with my young family and with the same commitment and enthusiasm that has served me well throughout my rugby career. I’m also looking forward to standing on the terraces and supporting the boys with a pint in my hand.”

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Abe 3 hours ago
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Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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Turlough 7 hours ago
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