New Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill has made his first major move in preparation for the new season by selecting Ellis Jenkins as the club captain for 2018/19.
It brings to an end three years of Gethin Jenkins having the captaincy, which he took over from Matthew Rees at the start of Danny Wilson’s stint as coach in 2015 and finished with him raising the European Challenge Cup Trophy in May.
Gethin will now join a wider leadership group who will assist Ellis in his captaincy and deputise when the flanker is away with Team Wales duties in the build up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Jenkins the younger, 25, has captained the team on matchdays plenty of times in recent years, and was co-captain of the Wales side that toured the Americas this summer. He will likely join the 100 club at the Arms Park early in the season, in what will be his seventh year in the senior squad at the club.
Speaking to the Cardiff Blues official website he said, “It’s an honour to become club captain but my role within the squad doesn’t change too much. I have captained the Blues a lot over the last couple of years when boys have been on Wales duty or injured.
“It is something I am used to and we have developed a strong leadership group. I have a lot of trust in the boys, we have so much leadership experience and more often than not it is a group decision.
“As captain you need to have the respect of the squad and you can only do that if performances are there both in games and training so that is what I will be focusing on first and foremost.”
Ellis’ leadership group around him will include a mix of young and old players from the academy graduates, non-Welsh qualified players and senior members of the squad. It is made up of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Josh Turnbull, Nick Williams, Lloyd Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Garyn Smith, Blaine Scully and Owen Lane.
Speaking about this to the official website, John Mulvihill said “”I’m a big believer in a horizontal rather than vertical approach to leadership. It’s important to spread the responsibility across the group, the more leaders you have the easier it is to get things right on and off the field.”
He was also very complimentary of both the incoming and outgoing captain Jenkins, “Ellis is one of the outstanding leaders within our group. He leads by example on and off the pitch and that has earned the trust and respect of the entire squad.
“He has previously captained Cardiff Blues on numerous occasions, particularly at the tail end of last season and including the European Challenge Cup final. Having previously skippered Wales Under-20s, he co-captained the Wales senior squad in the summer, so it’s a natural progression for him to become our club captain.
“Gethin has done a brilliant job previously and he remains a key figure within our environment and leadership group.”