Jenkins inspires Llanelli renaissance

Llanelli 52 Treorchy 7
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The Independent Online
Something is stirring again at Stradey Park and the rest of Welsh rugby had better sit-up and take notice. The return to Llanelli of the prodigal son, Gareth Jenkins, has helped to restore an air of confidence to the side, and has put a smile back on the faces of the supporters who had to suffer a winter of discontent last season.

Treorchy are no pushovers, although they will struggle to match their third place of last season in their second season in the First Division, yet they were blown away by eight tries.

They allowed the Scarlets to take a maximum five points from the match, including three bonus points for scoring seven tries, and all of a sudden the 1992/93 Heineken League champions are back at the top end of the table.

Jenkins, in association with his assistant coach, Allan Lewis, and fitness expert, Peter Herbert, masterminded that season - when Llanelli did the league and cup double and beat Australia - and on this showing it looks like being business as usual following his return from national duty with Wales.

"I've made a commitment to Llanelli for three years and I want to resurrect my coaching career in that time," Jenkins said. "At a club you are in charge of your own destiny, which is not the case at international level. You also get more time to work with players.

"I enjoyed my international experience, but at times it proved frustrating. At the moment the prospect of taking Llanelli into a European League is more exciting and appealing to me than international rugby."

Enough said. In the brave new world of professional rugby, Jenkins is right not to limit his club's horizons to domestic trophies.

He knows that in order to survive Llanelli must display their skills on a wider front. In order to do that they must first rise back to the top in Wales.

Jenkins will have his first chance to assess accurately the chances of his 27-man squad doing that this season when they meet the reigning champions, Cardiff, at Stradey Park on 30 September. That will be the crunch for both teams.

On this form it would take a brave man to predict a Cardiff win, but Jenkins has never been a coach to take anything for granted. At the moment he is more concerned with style, flair - and smiles. Once they have returned in abundance to Stradey Park, then the results will surely follow.

Llanelli: Tries Proctor 3, Thomas, Lloyd, Quinnell, Moon, penalty try; Conversions Pearce 3; Penalties Pearce 2. Treorchy: Try Morgan; Conversion Harries.

Llanelli: J Thomas; W Proctor, N Boobyer, N Davies, D Evans; S Pearce, R Moon; R Jones, A Lamerton, S John, P Davies (capt), A Copsey, C Quinnell, O Lloyd, P Morris.

Treorchy: D Lloyd; A Harries, R Morgan, P Jones, A Lewis; D Evans, C Bridges (C Hamans, 55); T Orrell (M Smith, 53), K Jones (A Thomas, 41), M Powell, S Evans, A Gregory, N Jones, S Eggar (D Earland, 65), G Jones (capt).

Referee: D Bevan (Clydach).

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