Rugby

There is no better place for a Welshman to win than Twickenham – Dafydd Jenkins

Wales have won just twice in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

Dafydd Jenkins will captain Wales against England
Dafydd Jenkins will captain Wales against England Dafydd Jenkins will captain Wales against England (Ben Birchall/PA)

Dafydd Jenkins has highlighted the enormity of victory at Twickenham if Wales can end their long wait for a Six Nations away win against England.

It has only happened twice since the tournament began 24 years ago, with Exeter lock Jenkins bidding to emulate previous Wales captains Ryan Jones (2008) and Sam Warburton (2012) in toppling England on home soil.

Jenkins, the youngest Wales skipper since Sir Gareth Edwards in 1968, was a junior school pupil when Scott Williams’ late try secured a Triple Crown triumph at Twickenham during the 2012 campaign.

And he is geared up for a huge effort on Saturday after Wales showed glimpses of their potential via a spectacular second-half fightback against Scotland last weekend, even if they ultimately lost by a point from 27-0 behind.

“I wouldn’t say it is like any other game, because England and Wales is special,” Jenkins, 21, said.

“There’s massive history behind the game. It’s a must-win game for us because of the place we are in the tournament.

“It’ll be the best place to win. For a Welshman, there is no better place. If you win over there, you gain a lot of respect from them. It’s huge for us.

Warren Gatland has won with Wasps and Wales at Twickenham
Warren Gatland Warren Gatland has won with Wasps and Wales at Twickenham (Ben Birchall/PA)

“There were a lot of emotions at half-time last week. We felt like we were letting a lot of people down.

“We did well to nearly get ourselves out of the hole but we didn’t. Hopefully, we won’t put ourselves in that position again.

“We definitely felt like we grew in terms of the performance – a lot of people stepped up in the second-half.”

While Wales victories are rare in the professional era at Twickenham, head coach Warren Gatland bucks the trend.

He was Wales boss in 2008 and 2012 and masterminded a 2015 World Cup win, while he also won a hat-trick of Premiership titles with Wasps, in addition to the club’s 2004 European Cup final success.

Gatland said: “We need to start a lot better than last week. We need to reduce the amount of turnovers.

“The second-half was reflective of how we played against Australia in the World Cup (Wales won 40-6), with a 10 or 11 per cent turnover rate. That makes a huge difference.

“A number of those things were in our own control, with penalties or lineouts that we weren’t accurate enough. We have worked hard this week in trying to rectify these things.”

Central to Wales’ victory bid will be fly-half Ioan Lloyd, who makes his first Wales start after three appearances off the bench in three years.

Ioan Lloyd played a key role in Wales’ second-half fightback against Scotland
Ioan Lloyd Ioan Lloyd played a key role in Wales’ second-half fightback against Scotland (David Davies/PA)

With Sam Costelow injured and Dan Biggar having retired from Test rugby, 22-year-old Lloyd now steps up for the biggest game of his life.

“We can see what a quality footballer and running threat he is,” Gatland added.

“He probably realises there is less space and not so many opportunities as a running threat at Test level. It maybe only happens once or twice a half.

“His game management is pretty important. Also, his communication with his outside backs and forwards, scanning and seeing what options are on.

“He is an instinctive player, so we need to allow him that opportunity to express himself, but it is also him being smart and saying that it’s not forcing it and not going after things when there isn’t that chance.”