Gareth Jenkins: I have no regrets

Sacked as coach of Wales last year after World Cup defeat to Fiji, Gareth Jenkins is now back at his beloved Scarlets after taking a much needed break from the game to analyse where it went wrong

The contrast could not be more stark. The day after Wales' inglorious exit from the 2007 World Cup, coach Gareth Jenkins looked a broken man when the team returned to its base at the Vale of Glamorgan.

A nation was still in mourning after a shock 38-34 defeat to Fiji dumped Jenkins' side out of the World Cup when the Welsh entourage arrived back in the Principality. A sprinkling of fans made their way to the Welsh base to commiserate with the former Llanelli coach who had fought so hard to gain the position he coveted so much, only to see it end in an avalanche of tears.



Fast forward 12 months and Jenkins has a spring in his step again. Sitting in his small office next to the ticket bureau at Stradey Park you sense the Nantes nightmare is now fully behind him as he moves on to the next phase of his career as head of regional development and recruitment with the Scarlets.



After his rapid removal from the Welsh set-up, Jenkins went into hibernation as the Wales hierarchy acted swiftly to install former Wasps supremo Warren Gatland and his right-hand man Shaun Edwards in his place. To rub salt in the wounds, the duo then took what was basically the same underachieving World Cup squad to Grand Slam glory.



It would have been easy for him to become bitter about his experience and Jenkins concedes he went through a painful period, but insists he has moved on.



"It's safe to say that what I went through was not a great experience," he says. "But sometimes in life you just have to deal with things like that. The time away from the game has fortunately allowed me to do that.



"The national coach's job, particularly in Wales, is just so intense, everything you do is so public. When you are subjected to that level of scrutiny there comes a time when you just have to escape. I took the chance to do that and I'm pleased I did.



"It took me a good couple of months to deal with the disappointment after I left the post and I took advantage of the chance to get out of the spotlight. However, I don't regret doing the job, if I had my time over again I would not have not done it.



"From now on I will have an administrative, overseeing job - and it is the right time for me to do something like this."



So is he truly over his departure from the Wales post which is, if you go by his new position, a demoralising way to end his illustrious coaching career?



"What I actually did was stand away from it for a period of time," he says. "It was necessary, as the first thing you have to do, when I was confronted with the decision made about me, was to first analyse and evaluate what I was responsible for and what I tried to deliver while I was in that job.



"I just needed time to take time away and work myself around what I call 'evaluation.' I eventually arrived at a point when I said to myself that if I was going into that job tomorrow, of all the things I did during my 16 months in the job, what would I have done differently?



"And there was probably on average 10 per cent that I would have done different - 90 per cent of the things I had done would have stayed the same. So you have got to put it behind you and look at what you want to do next."



So does he think the Grand Slam success was built on his hard work prior to the Six Nations? "You never know, do you." he replies. "You can't even ask that question - the coaches were there for two weeks before the Grand Slam season. There might have been some building blocks from the World Cup which actually allowed us to have the success in the Six Nations but that's not for me to suggest."



But that's all in the past for the former coach-turned-administrator. Even though he can often be seen watching coach Nigel Davies putting his beloved Scarlets through their paces from the touchlines during training sessions, Jenkins is clearly thriving in his new position.



"I am enjoying it," he says. "There is nothing better than a challenge and we have got a big challenge here. I am really energised by it. I realise the importance of it and I know it's an area we can't afford to fail in. There's a good set of challenges here and I've got an appetite back.



"I suffered disappointments in the last year or so but they are behind me now and I am just really looking forward to being a part of something exciting going forward."



The lure back to his spiritual home proved too big to ignore. Mighty Munster tried to entice him to Ireland but the man who has brought so much success to this small part of west Wales couldn't be prised away, which is strange as the one team who bears a similar resemblance to the ethos of the Scarlets would be the side from Limerick.



"I know," he concedes, "but it just didn't feel right for me. I was not excited by the reality of ending up coaching there. It was simply a case that coaching wasn't my next move. That excitement and drive that you need to actually coach was no longer there. I now have an opportunity to put structures in place here and develop a legacy for the region and that really excites me."



With Davies able to concentrate on the playing side of things, Jenkins is responsible for rugby recruitment and development and the community game - all areas which he is extremely passionate about.



"It's a big area, a very important area and an area where there's a lot of work needed over the next couple of years," he explains. "I've seen the region, from its inception, progress. A lot of good things have happened. Regional rugby was a necessity for Welsh rugby but we can't rest on our laurels.



"The professional game has moved up a level as it always will do. We need to react and respond and set up high coaching and playing developments to get us to the top."



You somehow get the feeling that the Scarlets have got the right man in the right place to do the right job.

This story was sourced from International Rugby News

News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home