On the charge in defeat: Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins (R) in action during a 16-14 loss to England in the Six Nations at Twickenham
London (AFP) - Dafyffd Jenkins insisted there was no getting away from Wales’ losing start to the Six Nations Championship for all they had been beaten by a combined margin of just three points in their opening two matches.
It seemed Wales were on course for a first win at Twickenham since 2015 when they led 14-5 at half-time on Saturday.
But instead it was England who triumphed 16-14, a result that came just a week after Wales’ extraordinary 27-26 defeat by Scotland in Cardiff – a match where the Welsh only started to find some form from the dire position of 27-0 behind.
Now a youthful Wales side face the daunting task of playing champions Ireland in Dublin on February 24 when the tournament resumes after a rest week.
“It’s extremely disappointing, but I’m proud of the boys for sticking in it every time,” said 21-year-old lock Jenkins, the youngest Wales captain since Gareth Edwards in 1968. “But it’s international rugby and it’s all about winning. Two losses hurts a lot.
“It’s a special game, Wales against England,” added Jenkins, who plays his club rugby for English side Exeter. “As you grow up you always want to be a part of it and get the win. Unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Wales coach Warren Gatland said a major challenge for a team rebuilding after the World Cup was to establish a winning mentality with a group of players who rarely enjoy success with their regions in the United Rugby Championship and European club competitions.
“They’ve probably got used to not having that ‘W’ (win) next to their name after performances. So it’s important we start doing that and be positive about doing that,” said Gatland.
One consolation for Wales on Saturday was the form of Tommy Reffell, with the openside flanker a growing threat in attack having established himself as a defensive force at the breakdown.
“We know how good Tommy is defensively but we want him to be comfortable getting the ball in his hands a little bit more,” said Gatland.
“He has come on as more of an option as a running threat. We saw that last weekend and again against England,” the New Zealander added.
“I’m absolutely delighted for him because he’s starting to get a nice balance to his game and that can take him to the next level.”