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British & Irish Lions Legends: Neil Jenkins

British & Irish Lions Legends: Neil Jenkins

A British & Irish Lions tour winner as both a player and a coach – Neil Jenkins is just as synonymous with the famous red jersey as he is with that of his home country Wales.

A British & Irish Lions tour winner as both a player and a coach – Neil Jenkins is just as synonymous with the famous red jersey as he is with that of his home country Wales.

After just 28 Tests for Wales Jenkins became his country’s all-time leading points scorer, and it was this form that led Sir Ian McGeechan to select him for the 1997 tour to South Africa.

His performances for Wales had mostly come in the No.10 shirt but it was further back where Jenkins would operate in the southern hemisphere as he started all three games at full-back.

But he didn’t let that faze him as his accurate goal-kicking saw him kick five penalties in the first two Tests against South Africa to put the British & Irish Lions in an unassailable lead, adding a further 11 as they lost the final clash in Johannesburg.

Injury meant Jenkins played more of a back roll in the 2001 tour to Australia, however he did claim his fourth and final Lions cap as a late replacement in the second Test in Melbourne.

Two years later Jenkins had retired from international rugby but he would return to South Africa with the Lions in 2009, this time as specialist kicking coach.

And Warren Gatland entrusted him with the same take in 2013 in Australia as Jenkins helped Leigh Halfpenny break his own record of most points in a Test series for the British & Irish Lions.

Jenkins had kicked 41 in the 1997 triumph but Halfpenny went eight better Down Under, not that it diminishes the impact the elder statesman has had for the Lions over nearly two decades.

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