Rugby World Cup 2011
Jenkins thrilled to be back
September 21, 2011
Before coming on against Samoa, Gethin Jenkins had endured a series of injuries with his last game for Wales coming against the Wallabies in November 2010 © Getty Images
Wales prop Gethin Jenkins admits he is happy to have put the "dark times" of his injury nightmare behind him.
The 30-year-old loosehead is all set to win his 78th cap when Wales take on Namibia next Monday, having finally overcome the toe and calf muscle injuries that have curtailed his involvement over the past nine months.
And Jenkins concedes there were some tough moments during his fightback to full fitness. "It has been a long road back, and I have to thank Wales' medical and physiotherapy staff for doing great work with me," said Jenkins, who came off the bench against Samoa replacing Paul James.
"I am just so happy to be on the field again. I was bouncing on the bench, ready to get on after 20 minutes against Samoa.
"I probably wouldn't have lasted long, but it was just nice to get back on the pitch and have a bit of game-time. Hopefully, I will build on that now.
"There are always doubts in your head that you are right, especially given the type of operation I had. The surgery was on an area that is pretty vital for my position, namely my toe.
"It is a dark time when you are injured, but the medical staff around me kept me going and kept reassuring me it was going to be right."
After recovering from his toe problem in time for Wales' gruelling World Cup preparations, Jenkins then suffered a calf injury ahead of the opening tournament warm-up game against England.
"It was a frustrating summer," he added. "I did all the fitness, all the preparation and was ready to go. Then, eight days before the first England game my calf went during an optional session. The timing wasn't very good.
"But I picked myself up, and once you are out here (at the World Cup) then you know you are in the mix - you are part of it.
"The calf injury was just a random occurrence towards the end of a training session. It was a difficult time because I had been out for so long with the toe and I had worked so hard to get fit.
"I guess a key thing was that when I had the operation in January the talk was to get me right for the World Cup. The coaches and physios made clear the whole reason behind me having the surgery was to get me back to full strength.
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