Gethin Jenkins: Wales prop could tour New Zealand with Lions, says Robin McBryde

By Owen RawlingsBBC Wales Sport in Wellington, New Zealand
Gethin Jenkins
Gethin Jenkins has won 131 Test caps, including five for the British and Irish Lions
New Zealand v Wales (third Test)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin Date: Saturday, 25 June 2016 Kick-off: 08:35 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport app, Connected TV, and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Wales' record appearance holder Gethin Jenkins could go on a fourth British and Irish Lions tour, says Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde.

Prop Jenkins, 35, has departed Wales' tour of New Zealand with a calf injury and will miss the final Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday.

The three-time Six Nations Grand Slam winner has won 126 caps for his country and started Wales' opening two games against the world champions.

"He's been outstanding," said McBryde.

The veteran Cardiff Blues forward has admitted he is unlikely to play at the 2019 World Cup and Wales coach Warren Gatland has said he is planning an "exit strategy" with the prop as he heads towards retirement.

But asked whether Jenkins could push for more Wales caps and a place on the Lions' tour to New Zealand next year, McBryde said: "On current form, you've got to say yes to that."

"I congratulated him before he went because he has taken on not only what he does on the pitch, but off the pitch as well with regards to his mentoring role with someone like [fellow prop] Rob Evans."

Wales' summer fixtures:
11 June: New Zealand 39-21 Wales (Auckland)
14 June: Chiefs 40-7 Wales (Hamilton)
18 June: New Zealand 36-22 Wales (Wellington)
25 June: New Zealand (Dunedin)

Jenkins won the first of his five Lions caps on the 2005 tour of New Zealand, which the visitors lost 3-0, before playing twice in South Africa in 2009 in a 2-1 series defeat.

The former Toulon player, who made his debut for Wales against Romania in 2002, was selected for the Lions' victorious 2013 tour of Australia, but flew home early because of a calf injury.

McBryde says Jenkins takes good care of himself, which could help prolong his career at the highest level with the Lions due to play three Tests matches against the All Blacks next summer.

"One of his strengths is how professional he is off the field with regards to managing himself," said McBryde, who has agreed a new deal to remain part of Wales' backroom team until after the 2019 World Cup.

"He knows himself that he has got to look after his calves with the number of problems he has had there. He's had issues with his toe, his achilles, his calf etc.

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"He's managing to keep on top of that and you see him doing his pre-hab exercises in the morning and he's always keen to do a bit extra at the end of training.

"And we're managing that with regards to the load he's doing during the week.

"He doesn't need to do as much as someone like Rob Evans, for instance, because there's a certain amount of mileage on the clock that you need to look after to him."

Jenkins' New Zealand tour ended after suffering a calf injury in the 36-22 defeat by the All Blacks in Wellington last weekend.

Steve Hansen's All Blacks have an unassailable 2-0 series lead going into Saturday's game in Dunedin.

Wales, beaten 39-21 in the first Test at Eden Park, have not beaten the Kiwis since 1953.

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