Gethin Jenkins: Wales recall is a 'long way' from happening

Gethin Jenkins looks on with frustration during Wales' autumn International against Australia
Gethin Jenkins made his Wales debut in 2002 and has played five Tests for the British and Irish Lions

Gethin Jenkins, Wales' most capped player, says he is "not stupid" in assessing his chances of a recall.

The Cardiff Blues prop, who has won 129 caps, was left out of Wales' Six Nations squad, the first time he has has been overlooked when fit.

"I've still got ambition to do it, but I've a long way to go performance-wise to get to that level," Jenkins told BBC Sport Wales.

"I haven't called time, but I'm not stupid."

Jenkins bases his assessment on the players currently involved under national coach Warren Gatland as they prepare to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

"Not even mentioning the first and second choices (Rob Evans and Wyn Jones), but you look at the third choice Nicky Smith and he's been outstanding for the Ospreys," said Jenkins.

"That's the type of stuff you're competing against and I'd be kidding myself if I thought I was at that level."

Jenkins is hoping to earn a new Cardiff Blues contract for the 2018-19 season.

Match-day blues

Gethin Jenkins of Cardiff Blues is tackled by Kyle McCall of Ulster
Jenkins has played more than 200 games for the Blues since 2004 despite spending a season at Toulon

Jenkins, who has made only six Cardiff Blues appearances this season after two spells out through injury, is set to lead them against the Cheetahs in the Pro14 on Saturday.

He will not be able to watch the England-Wales match shortly before his own game, but said it was difficult being a spectator when Wales beat Scotland 34-7 last Saturday.

"That's probably the worst part, but I always thought we'd beat Scotland," said Jenkins.

"It's hard to judge England because they were expected to beat Italy," he added, referring to England's 46-15 victory in Rome on Sunday.

"They've built something under Eddie Jones in the last two to three years. They're going to be a hard team to beat, but the (Wales) boys will have some momentum."

Jenkins said his favourite Twickenham memory was the final move of Wales' 2015 World Cup win over England, as the pack successfully defended an English line-out drive.

"It was a 50-50 call on what they did (kicking to the corner), but for us to drive them into touch then was one of the biggest moments, we had a feeling then we'd done it."

Playing on?

(L-R) Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins pack down for the 2009 Lions in South Africa, the first all-Wales front row in a Lions Test since 1955
(L-R) Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins pack down for the 2009 Lions in South Africa, the first all-Wales front row in a Lions Test since 1955

While hoping to lead Cardiff Blues to European honours in the Challenge Cup, and earn qualification for next season's Champions Cup, Jenkins also wants to earn a new contract amid uncertainty over who will take over from Danny Wilson as head coach.

"I feel like I could still do a job next year, or even as a player-coach," Jenkins said.

"My preference would be to stay at this region and do something here, but at the moment nothing's been offered, so I'll just assess my options in the next couple of weeks or months.

"I've been here close to 13 seasons, but if things don't work out, then that (going elsewhere) will be a consideration."

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