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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Garin Jenkins backs Wales' Six Nations scrum power

Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Paul James pack down against Ireland in 2010
Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Paul James pack down against Ireland in the 2010 Six Nations

Ex-Wales hooker Garin Jenkins has warned the rest of the Six Nations contenders the Welsh scrum is likely to be dominant in the tournament.

The Scrum V pundit says prop Gethin Jenkins' injury absence will not weaken Wales in the set-piece.

Garin Jenkins said: "It's one part of the game where we are head and shoulders above many other teams, especially... in the Six Nations."

However, he also says Wales must improve elsewhere.

Cardiff Blues' British and Irish Lions prop Gethin Jenkins, a double Wales Grand Slam winner, is to undergo surgery on a toe injury that will mean 10 weeks on the sidelines.

Wales kick off their Six Nations campaign against England at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, 4 February.

Garin Jenkins, a renowned scrummager on the world stage during his career, says his 30-year-old namesake's rivals have the chance to prove themselves in World Cup year.

The likes of this Dylan Hartley, the Northampton hooker, fancies himself as a bit of a scrummaging hooker. I'm sure Wales are looking for that challenge [against England]

Ex-Wales hooker Garin Jenkins

He cites Ospreys Paul James and Duncan Jones, Scarlets' veteran Iestyn Thomas and Jenkins' Blues understudy John Yapp as being able to ensure Wales enjoy a powerful forward platform in the 2011 Six Nations tournament.

"Paul James is in pole position. Now he's got to make everybody aware that Gethin isn't going to be missed too much and he'll step up to the plate," said Jenkins.

"He's got a good engine, he's a brave man and hopefully the performances of Paul James and whoever comes in will ensure that we don't miss Gethin that much and that a fresh Gethin Jenkins comes back, challenging for the Blues at the end of the season and hopefully being there in the World Cup.

"In the past too many times before when we've lost players, we've put our head in our hands, just gone down in a negative spiral - I don't think we're in that sort of corridor anymore.

"But the scrum has been a strong point, hasn't it?

"[In November] we took it to the Springboks, we more than matched the All Blacks and I'm sure in the Six Nations we can take it to England first game whatever personnel we put out there.

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"Matthew Rees has been scrummaging well, there's people challenging for the hooking position, Adam Jones is the out-and-out tight-head.

"He's the cornerstone of the scrum so with Gethin's loss responsibility has to be deployed to the others in the front-five.

"They've got to step up to the mark because come 4 February we have to take England on - and the likes of this Dylan Hartley, the Northampton hooker, fancies himself as a bit of a scrummaging hooker.

"I'm sure Wales are looking for that challenge and whoever the props are and whoever the hooker is, I'm sure that they'll give a good account of themselves.

"I should hope so. We've seen the Ospreys dismantle the Munster scrum. We've seen Wales scrummage superbly through the autumn series and I think it's one part of the game where we are head and shoulders above many other teams, especially the ones in the Six Nations.

"It's just a case of keeping that going now and not just sitting back and watching good parts of the last few games - it's time to build on that and to capitalise on it and build an all-round game around our superb scrum at the moment.

"And I think it's important Wales use that dominance. Gethin Jenkins is going to be a big loss, but I really feel that the loose-heads that are vying for that position can more than cover for Gethin's absence in the set-piece."

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Williams recovery boost for Wales
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Wales hit by Jenkins injury blow
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Wales' rugby fixtures
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Wales rugby results archive
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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