On this day in 2006: Wales appoint Gareth Jenkins as new head coach

Wales appointed Gareth Jenkins as their new head coach, replacing Mike Ruddock who resigned from the post earlier in the year, on this day in 2006.

Ruddock had won the Grand Slam with Wales a year earlier, but was succeeded by Jenkins, who signed a two-year contract to incorporate the 2007 World Cup.

Wales Rugby Union chairman David Pickering was part of a five-man panel that recommended Jenkins for the position.

Jenkins was appointed Wales head coach in 2006 (David Jones/PA)
Jenkins was appointed Wales coach in 2006 (David Jones/PA)

Pickering said: “What shone through for us was Gareth’s fantastic passion and vision for the game. He is a coach of the highest calibre and he has had success over many years with Llanelli.

“We, as a board, are absolutely delighted. He is the right man at the right time to take Wales forward. We went out to seek the best man for the job – it is what we said from day one – and we know we have got the best person for the job.”

A firm favourite of the Welsh supporters, Jenkins enjoyed success with Llanelli and was assistant Wales coach when they were crowned 1994 Five Nations champions.

Additionally, he helped Ian McGeechan mould an unbeaten midweek team during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

A poor World Cup campaign under Jenkins saw Wales lose to Fiji (David Jones/PA)
A poor World Cup campaign under Jenkins saw Wales lose to Fiji (David Jones/PA)

However, Jenkins’ reign in charge lasted just 20 Tests, winning only six games before his dismissal in September 2007 following a disappointing World Cup campaign.

Wales had beaten Canada and Japan in their group, but lost their decisive match against Fiji, meaning they did not reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

Following Jenkins’ departure, Warren Gatland was then appointed as Wales boss and immediately led the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2008.