The emotional scenes as Wales and Cardiff Blues legend Gethin Jenkins is given guard of honour as he leaves pitch …

The emotional scenes as Wales and Cardiff Blues legend Gethin Jenkins is given guard of honour as he leaves pitch ...

Team-mates give rugby great Gethin Jenkins emotional send-off

You will struggle though to see Gethin Jenkins like again as the former Wales captain brought the curtain down on a glittering career.

Wales record cap holder has hung up his boots after playing his final match for Cardiff Blues in their bonus-point win over Zebre in Pro14.

Driving the team on to secure the late scores required for a bonus-point win, Jenkins was even afforded the opportunity of seeing out his playing career in a manner some may remember from John Muldoons final game representing Connacht.

Four Six Nations titles including three Grand Slams, 129 Wales caps, five British and Lions Test appearances on three tours, a Heineken Cup winner and two Challenge Cup triumphs.

Making his final appearance in the Connacht jersey against Leinster at the tail end of last seasons Pro 14 clash, Muldoon memorably converted his own attempt; much to the chagrin of certain less humourous opponents.

“No I am not a believer in all that stuff,” said Jenkins. “You work hard for what you can get in the sport.

Admittedly early on into the new season to be announcing his retirement, Wales most-capped ever international, a chronic knee injury has left Gethin Jenkins with no other choice.

“That is something I am proud of, but its the things you achieve in the jersey which come to the fore more than that,” said Jenkins.

Making his introduction to todays match with a little over 23-minutes remaining, the 37-year-old announced himself on a game where Cardiff were falling below expectations.

“I think Alun Wyn Jones is definitely going to catch me the way he is going. He does not seem to be getting any older.”

Gethin Jenkins ends a glittering career with ⁦⁦@cardiff_blues⁩, Wales and ⁦@lionsofficial⁩ with a conversion attempt! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/djtzy9z6al

Jenkins might not want to admit it himself, but he will be remembered as a Wales rugby great who enjoyed notable peaks and troughs.

The man they call Melon is not one for sentiment, often been described as grumpy by his team-mates over the years.

Love how Gethin Jenkins didnt know how to put the ball on the kicking tee for his conversion! pic.twitter.com/i7wC0QAOUd

“I have been lucky enough to enjoy such a long career. A lot of players dont get to last until they are 37 so I am thankful.

As some keen-eyed viewers pointed out, however, Jenkins hadnt looked that comfortable in the task from the outset.

“I have been sitting down in the changing room this week with players who said they were six when I was doing some of the things I was doing for Wales.

Jenkins rates the 2005 Grand Slam as a career highlight with the iconic image of the prop scoring the try in the victory over Ireland on a crazy Cardiff day after charging down Ronan OGaras kick and flopping on the ball.

“That was the one that stood out for Wales as a country with the first Grand Slam for 27 years,” said Jenkins.

“I have had other ones since, but that is probably the one I look back on with the fondest memories.”

Further Six Nations success in 2008, 2012 and 2013 followed, but playing a major part in a Lions series victory just eluded Jenkins.

The Wales prop was forced to leave the field injured against South Africa in the brutal second Test in Pretoria in 2009 when the Springboks inflicted heartbreak on the Lions tourists by sealing the series.

“I always think if we had a bit more luck with injuries maybe I would have been part of a Lions Test-series-winning squad,” said Jenkins

His club career started with Pontypridd, included one season with Celtic Warriors before the bulk of his time with two spells at Cardiff Blues, and one campaign with Toulon in between.

In 2013 Jenkins became one of a handful of Welsh winners of Europes elite tournament as Toulon triumphed.

Jenkins skippered the Blues in the 2010 victory over Toulon in Marseilles and was club captain when the region won the trophy eight years later, although he missed the final through injury.

Jenkins retirement has provoked the usual debate about whether he was Wales greatest prop. Supporters of Graham Price might disagree.

What the 37-year-old has done since his international debut in November 2002 is help revolutionise the prop role with his work at the breakdown and in defence.

While Adam Jones was the fulcrum of the Welsh scrum, his prop partner would be seen marauding around the field, smashing into opposition players and stealing possession at the contact area.

It was like having an extra flanker with Jenkins acting as the on-field eyes and ears of defence coach Shaun Edwards.

Jenkins is set to slot into a defence coaching career, where he has already gained some experience with the Blues Academy.

“I know I am starting again,” said Jenkins. “I have the knowledge, but am happy to bed in for the first couple of years, see how I am enjoying it. We will go from there.

“You pick up stuff from every coach you work under, some more than others, but it sets you in good stead and I have learnt from all of them.

“I know Shauns systems and methods inside out, hes a great coach and has his own way of doing things.

“Steve Hansen was also a big influence when he was Wales coach, even though he was only around a few years when I was coming though.

“It was more the way he was around the squad, the culture and his selflessness. I hadnt seen that before.

“Gats (Warren Gatland) has been a big part with Wales along with Dai Young and then Danny Wilson at the Blues.”

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