Gethin Jenkins: Wales’ all-time appearance maker will retire from the sport after Cardiff Blues’ PRO14 match against Zebre this weekend

31 Oct

Gethin Jenkins is “very proud of everything” he has achieved in his career as he prepares to retire from rugby.

The 37-year-old prop, who is also Wales’ record cap holder will call time on his career after Cardiff Blues’ Guiness PRO14 match against Zebre on Sunday.

Jenkins has been described as a “legend of Welsh rugby” by Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill

He made 129 appearances for Wales during a Test career that spanned 14 years, and toured three times with the British and Irish Lions, playing in five Tests.

Announcing his retirement, the Blues said that Jenkins, who made his Wales debut in 2002, has been battling to overcome a chronic knee injury.

He will now take up a coaching role within the Cardiff Blues academy.

Jenkins was part of three Six Nations Grand Slam campaigns with Wales – in 2005, 2008 and 2012 – and is regarded as one of his country’s all-time great players, combining powerful set-piece ability with prolific tackling and breakdown work, in addition to outstanding handling skills.

Jenkins has 129 caps for Wales – more than any other player

“I have been working hard rehabbing over the last three months and I was confident I was going to be back playing, so it’s disappointing to be retiring after Sunday’s game against Zebre,” he said.

“It’s obviously a big decision, but I’ve had a good innings, it’s time to finish and I am looking forward to one more run-out on the weekend and hopefully finishing on a high.

“The pain I have been experiencing from rugby, in my daily life, simply isn’t tolerable, but it is important to me that after all the work I have put in, I run out with my team one last time and finish on my own terms.

“I’m very proud of everything I have achieved in my career.

“I have so many memories from over the years and could stay here all day listing them, but the biggest thing I will miss is that camaraderie with the boys, the buzz of running out and playing, and the feeling in the changing rooms after a win.”

Jenkins has played almost 200 games in two stints with the Blues, while he also spent a season with French club Toulon, and Blues head coach John Mulvihill added: “Gethin Jenkins is a legend of Welsh rugby, a great servant for both club and country.

“After early discussions, it was always my intention to have Gethin decide when he would like to call an end to this playing career.

“He will be a massive loss to us in a playing sense, but his presence as a coach will be a great asset to us going forward.

“After 13 seasons at Cardiff Blues, at the top of his game, this weekend marks the end of an era at the club.”

Jenkins’ 134 Tests for Wales and the Lions sees him lie fourth on international rugby union’a all-time appearance list behind Richie McCaw, Brian O’Driscoll and George Gregan.

Jenkins celebrates winning the European Rugby Challenge Cup with Cardiff Blues in May

His last game for Wales was a win against South Africa at the Principality Stadium two years ago, when Jenkins captained the team.

Blues chairman Peter Thomas said: “Gethin is a player of immense quality and a brilliant leader who sets the standards both on and off the field.

“While it is disappointing that his playing career is coming to an end, we are very pleased that all of his experience and expertise will be retained in the Cardiff Blues family.

“I cannot thank Gethin enough for the enormous contribution he has made, not only to ourselves at Cardiff Blues, but Welsh and world rugby generally.”