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"Every time he plays he'll make another record," Roger Jenkins
 real 28k

"The man is a Ginger legend," says brother-in-law Andrew Harry
 real 28k

Friday, 31 December, 1999, 00:49 GMT
Jenkins' record-breaking year ends in style

Neil Jenkins Neil Jenkins broke the test points record against Samoa

After a record-breaking year Wales international and British Lion Neil Jenkins has been given the Order of the British Empire.

Jenkins, who became the highest points-scorer in the history of international rugby union and most-capped Welshman during the Rugby World Cup, was given the honour for his services to rugby union.

The Wales fly-half is one of three sportiong heroes included in the New Year's Honours List. The others are Tanni Gray and Colin Jackson.

It tops an incredible year for Jenkins who broke three records on the field and celebrated the birth of his first child.

The 28-year-old passed Ieuan Evans's Welsh record 72 caps for Wales and now with 73 is the most capped Welshmen.

He overtook Michael Lynagh's world points record mark of 911 to set a new record of 936 - and still counting.

The much-maligned fly-half also set a new record for half back partnership with Rob Howley. Their 25th appearance beat that of Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett.

Neil Jenkins In 18 months Neil Jenkins has averaged 20 points a match for Wales
Jenkins has been a near ever-present for the national team since making his debut as a 19-year-old against England in 1991.

He gave the briefest of glimpses of his talent that day kicking one penalty in a 25-6 Cardiff Arms Park defeat.

But Jenkins soon established himself as one of Wales' standard bearers although he was frequently the target for criticism from people claiming he was little more than a kicker.

However, with his home-town club Pontypridd, which he joined aged 15, he was named Welsh player of the year in 1994 and 1995.

Twelve months later his side lifted the Welsh Cup and they were crowned league champions a year later.

Neil Jenkins Neil Jenkins has blossomed under Graham Henry
It was 1997 when Jenkins had perhaps his finest moment, keeping ice-cool under the most severe pressure as he kicked 41 points to help the British Lions to a 2-1 series victory in South Africa.

Still Wales struggled but after the arrival of Graham Henry as coach their fortunes improved.

Jenkins broke the Welsh record for the highest number of points in a match with 30 in his country's 60-21 defeat of Italy in March this year.

He scored 64 points, another Wales record, in last season's Five Nations Championship, including the winning last-minute conversion in his side's win against England.

Cardiff splashed out 200,000 to lure him from Pontypridd in the summer and were reported to be paying him around 125,000 a year.

"Neil has been a marvellous servant for Welsh rugby - he is a total professional and a key player in our side," added Henry.

"I have coached the game for 27 years and seen a lot of committed professionals, and he is right up there with the best.

"He's a role model for the young people of this country."

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See also:
14 Oct 99 |  Wales
Samoa crash Jenkins' party
13 Oct 99 |  Wales
World record gives Welsh hope
13 Oct 99 |  Wales
Wales reshuffle for Jenkins record attempt
24 Sep 99 |  Wales
Neil Jenkins does a catwalk turn
28 Aug 99 |  Rugby Union
Jenkins' record haul gives Wales win
21 Aug 99 |  Rugby Union
Jenkins canes Canada
31 Dec 99 |  Wales
New Year honours for Welsh stars

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