Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 24, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home SportLocal Dafydd Jenkins leads Exeter Chiefs to Success

Dafydd Jenkins leads Exeter Chiefs to Success

Joseph Terry discusses the Chiefs' positive start to the 2023/24 season under University of Exeter student Dafydd Jenkins's captaincy.
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Dafydd Jenkins, the Chiefs' young, new captain
Exeter Chiefs defeating London Irish 45-28 in 2020, Jenkins has since broken into the first team and been given captaincy
Image: Alasdair Massie, via Flickr

The Chiefs took a last-gasp 25-24 win against Gloucester at a buzzing Sandy Park in their last home game before their tussle against Munster in the Champions Cup. Despite trailing 24-15 with only four minutes left on the clock, Exeter clawed it back to claim a dramatic West Country derby victory.

One of the leading stories was the leadership qualities of Dafydd Jenkins, awarded the captaincy by Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, despite his young age that belies his wisdom and rugby IQ. Jenkins is one of the success stories of the EURFC, now a captain for the Chiefs as well as regular starter for the Welsh squad, having played five Rugby World Cup matches last month. He is a great example of the pipeline of talent created out of the Sports Park. His role at Lock is pivotal to the performance of the Chiefs, not only ball in hand in transition from the rough and ready attacks into the free-flowing play of the backs, but also in those moments of real steel driving towards the line inch by inch. Towering over his teammates and opponents both metaphorically and literally, at 6 foot 7 inches tall, and pushing the scales at just over 18 stone, he is a giant of a player. Scoring on the day after a classy offload by Henry Slade, Jenkins proved his attacking threat. 

Dafydd Jenkins is one of the success stories of the EURFC, now a captain for the Chiefs as well as a regular starter for the Welsh squad.

A do-or-die penalty kick for Sladey confirmed the one-point win. In less-than-ideal conditions, the ball had to be held on the end of a fingertip, only adding even more drama to the occasion. Sandy Park is as much of a fortress as ever before, and it showed on the day. Had it been at Kingsholm, we may have seen a different result. 

The start of the season has been promising for the Chiefs, as the Premiership seems just as competitive and close at the top of the table as it was last season, despite two fewer teams in the division. Leading the Premiership before a loss to Bath at the Rec 41-24, after following up their win against the Cherry, and Whites with a 6-point win versus the Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park – the Chiefs challenge yet again for the playoffs, in a stronger start than many expected after a season break of exodus. Rolling into the Champions Cup firstly with a trip across the Channel to face Toulons, then returning home to clash against Munster, who knocked the Chiefs out of the Round of 16 in 2021/22 on aggregate 34-23 over two legs. The season is yet to unfold, but the Chiefs have done their bit to start well. 

Jenkins is another reason why you should keep a careful eye on the action at Topsham and the Rubber Crumb week in, week out.

Another year, and another success story for our EURFC, as Dafydd Jenkins joins the echelons of EURFC legends. The Bridgend-born stalwart came out of the clash on top against his fellow young Welshman Louis Rees-Zammit, and Jenkins is another reason why you should keep a careful eye on the action at Topsham and the Rubber Crumb week in, week out.

Watch the highlights from the Chiefs’ one-point victory against Gloucester here:

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