Wales defence specialist Gethin Jenkins
Gethin Jenkins has described Sunday’s clash against Fiji as “a massive game” as Wales target their first win of the Autumn Nations Series campaign.
A 54-16 defeat against New Zealand was followed by a tense five-point loss to world champions South Africa, with Wales having claimed a solitary victory since beating Italy during last season’s Six Nations.
History heavily favours Wales when it comes to facing Fiji, toppling them 10 times in 12 attempts.
But their last meeting at the 2019 World Cup in Japan frequently stressed Wales before they wiped out a 10-point deficit as Josh Adams scored three tries and inspired a 29-17 victory.
“There are different threats from different teams, and going into this weekend, it is different threats again,” Wales defence coach Jenkins said, ahead of the Principality Stadium encounter.
“There are a lot of individual threats (from Fiji) and as long as our system is right, you have just got to deal with those individuals then.
“Showing some of the stuff to the players earlier in the week to get some messages in, there are some exceptional bits of skill there that sometimes you are not going to be able to deal with.
“You have got to just get back as quick as you can and get back into the system. Hopefully, we can take another step in the right direction.
“Any international game, you are expecting a physical encounter, and Fiji are no different.
“You look at the teams their players are in, and they are normally the stand-out players for physicality, so we know that is a big part of their game, and we know the off-loading bit is a big part of their game.
“It is just up to us to manage it as best we can, and impose ourselves with our collisions.”
Any international game, you are expecting a physical encounter
It has proved a testing autumn campaign for Wales, with head coach Wayne Pivac losing a number of players – the likes of Alun Wyn Jones Ross Moriarty, Ken Owens and Taulupe Faletau – to injuries.
And he goes with the same pack that faced South Africa – apart from Wasps flanker Thomas Young entering the back-row equation – plus players such as Adams, wing Louis Rees-Zammit and fly-half Dan Biggar being retained, although Adams switches to outside centre.
Jenkins added: “We are not actually blessed at the moment in terms of how many players we have got available because of a few different things, so we have gone quite strong on the weekend.
“We are looking to build on the performances we’ve had the last two weeks, and this becomes a massive game for us.
“Fiji are a good team in their own right now and we know how much they have improved, so it is a good test for us.
“We are not underestimating what they are going to bring.”
And in terms of the Adams positional move – his first Wales appearance off the wing in 35 Tests – Jenkins said: “He hasn’t played there (centre) much, but he is quite suited defensively.
“Thirteens and wingers do pretty much a lot of the same things in terms of a defensive system, and I had no hesitation in us getting him there.
“If you are at 13 and you have got some gas, I think it does help.
“You have only got to look at George (North) in the centre in the Six Nations, and the South Africans, for example, how much even when you bust them out wide, how much wheels they have got coming across.
“If you have got the gas to cover, it’s a big help.”
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