Warren Gatland has paid new Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins a major compliment by saying he expects to see him “in the mould of Alun Wyn Jones”.
Jenkins has won many admirers through his captaincy of Exeter Chiefs, with the Gallagher Premiership club in title contention and progressing to the Investec Champions Cup knockout phase.
The 21-year-old will take charge for Wales’ Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 3, with Gatland enthused by his potential.
“We’ve got a young captain who I think will be an outstanding professional,” Gatland said.
“I expect to see him in the mould of Alun Wyn Jones. He doesn’t say a lot, but he leads by example.
“He is last out of the gym, he does his analysis and he has got an edge to him. I don’t mind that. He’s got a group of good men that will be there to support him too.”
Jones made a world record 170 Test match appearances for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, ticking every box as a true great of the game.
“The edge is about someone who doesn’t back down,” Gatland added.
“You are looking for someone who doesn’t back down from anyone, someone who gets excited by challenges.
“When I look back on my time in rugby, the best player I coached in that was Lawrence Dallaglio. The bigger the occasion, the more excited he got.
“I think Daf will be like that, going forward. Whatever he is up against, he is not going to fear anything.
“I think with captains, you get different personalities and people. I suppose that is the beauty of it.
“I think we’ve got some quality men in the team and that makes a big difference to me. What I like about this group of people is they are good people.
“If you galvanise them and bring them together, work hard and they will play for each other.”