3 Nov 2018
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS WALES 50 SCOTLAND 12 - Report
Mushed food, Weetabix, porridge - for six weeks
When his jaw was shattered in Serbia three months ago, Elliott Jenkins wrote off 2018 completely.
Instead, the 19-year-old made his senior debut, his international debut and scored two tries just two days into November as Wales came from 12-0 down to score an astonishing 50 unanswered points in the European Championships and World Cup Qualifier match against Scotland at Netherdale, Galashiels.
The result gets Wales out of the blocks in the competition and leaves the Scots winless.
“Mushed food, Weetabix, porridge - for six weeks,”
Jenkins recalled of the injury suffered in the European Under 19s Championships on August 5.
“Playing against Ukraine, first game in four months, I decided it was a good idea to come out and try and hit someone. As a halfback, I probably shouldn’t have done that.
“You can feel it coming apart, it gets very swollen. You can talk but your teeth aren’t moving very far apart.
“It’s probably the worst injury I’ve ever had in terms of the recovery from it.”
Well beaten in Ireland last week, the Bravehearts started powerfully in the chilly border town on Friday, rattling Welsh teeth with some big hits, chasing determinedly and scoring after only two minutes via winger Davey Dixon.
This was followed by lock James Bell crossing to the right of the posts and Wales looked headed for a repeat of the previous week’s 54-18 loss to France.
But some desperate defence and a few penalties stemmed the tide somewhat and at 20 minutes. Dragons centre Ben Morris sucked in two defenders and off-loaded masterfully for winger Rhys Williams to post the visitors’ first try.
A fumble at the back handed Jenkins his first touchdown and had Mike Butt not put a foot into touch, Wales could actually have led at halftime rather than trailing 12-8.
Seven minutes into the second half, London’s Williams provided a textbook demonstration of how to beat a fullback as he charged over for his second and from then on it was one-way traffic.
Halfback Josh Ralph grew more and more confident, putting second rower Chester Butler over for one before posting a try brace himself. Jenkins capitalised on another mistake from a kick for his second and three tries in the final eight minutes made it something of a procession.
The Welsh needed to correct their points difference after the previous week’s heavy loss but coach John Kear said
“it wasn’t something we were thinking about.
“What happens is: players start to enjoy themselves. Players start to relax. Players start to believe in each other and themselves and they start to be confident.
“I’m really pleased with the halfbacks. We’ve got one kid who was 21 years old (Ralph) and one kid who was 19 running the team and I thought they made a pretty good job of it.”
He said of Jenkins:
“He’s come through the Welsh system and tonight you saw the start for a young man who will be in the Welsh national team for years to come.
“His performance was reflective of the team. We dipped our toe in the water initially but when we decided to dive in and start swimming, we were pretty good.”