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Gethin Jenkins has underlined the sense of excitement surrounding Wales newcomer Christ Tshiunza as he prepares for a potential Test debut on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Exeter forward is among Wales’ replacements for their Autumn Nations Series clash against Fiji in Cardiff.
Tshiunza was born in DR Congo but moved to Wales in 2010 and is a product of Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, whose past pupils also include Sam Warburton, Gareth Bale and Geraint Thomas.
— EURFC (@ExeterUniRFC) November 11, 2021
At 6ft 6in and 17st 6lbs – and an ability to play in the second row and back row – he is a player that Wales’ coaching staff are rightly enthused by.
“We can see something in him,” Wales defence coach Jenkins said.
“He is a physical specimen, chucks himself about and is a good line-out jumper, so hopefully he can realise some of his potential.
“It is good for him to be involved, and hopefully he wins his first cap.
“It has been a big journey for him, moving down to Exeter, and now this has come so quickly. We see a lot of potential in him, and we look forward to seeing him on the weekend.”
Wales’ autumn campaign has so far seen them well beaten by New Zealand before they were edged out 23-18 against world champions South Africa.
And while Wales will start as favourites to topple Fiji – their opening 2023 World Cup pool opponents – another stern test can be expected.
Jenkins added: “I don’t think Fiji are going to change much in the way they are going to play. They are very dangerous individually, and they always have that flair in the team.
— Autumn Nations Series (@autumnnations) November 10, 2021
“They haven’t changed for a while, but they are a quality team with threats from anywhere.
“You can get a break from anywhere with their offloads. They are so skilful in that part of the game, and that’s why they are such a good sevens team as well.
“It is hard to predict, and the only thing you can do is make sure your system is as well-organised as possible.
“We have got a pretty strong team out in terms of what we can select.
“They are probably missing a few too, so they will probably be stronger at the World Cup. But it would be good to go out this weekend and lay down a marker for two years’ time.”