Gethin Jenkins admits being sent home from the British & Irish Lions victorious tour of Australia was the worst moment of his career.
The Wales prop was a favourite to pull on the number one jersey in the Test series having been a cornerstone of the front-row on the previous two tours to New Zealand and South Africa.
But Jenkins suffered a tour threatening calf injury in the Heineken Cup final and an aggravation in the team run ahead of the Lions’ 22-12 triumph over Queensland Reds ended his stint in Australia.
“It was probably the worst moment of my career was when the doctor and physio knocked on my hotel door and told me I was going home because of the injury,” said Jenkins, who has returned to Cardiff Blues after one season with Toulon.
“I had done the injury in the Heineken Cup Final and after the game I was a bit worried about what was going to happen.
“Two minutes after I came on I was chasing a kick and felt something go. I dug in for the rest of the game, which probably didn't help but the damage had been done.
“But in Australia I had trained for the full week and then flown five hours to Brisbane only to break down in the team run.
“Having had the injury before I knew the recovery time would be another three weeks so I knew myself that meant I was probably going home.
“I understood the decision because I wouldn't have played for six weeks.”
Jenkins, who has played in five Tests for the famous tourists but never tasted victory, then had to endure watching the remainder of the tour on TV in south Wales.
The 32-year-old admits it was hard to stomach but he was delighted to watch his teammates secure a first Test series triumph since 1997l
“It was difficult watching the games. I guess most players will tell you it's hard to watch games when you're injured but you want the boys to do well,” said Jenkins.
“I couldn't go somewhere there were lots of people so I just stayed home and watched the games with my dad.
“But it was great to see the lads play so well. I was gutted for them in the second test because I thought they had the game – and the series – in the bag even though had battened down the hatches to defend.
“But the way they turned up for the third Test was great, it was similar to the Wales game against England in the RBS 6 Nations. Everything just came good.”