1:58pm Friday 14th March 2014
SHAUN Edwards has paid a glowing tribute to Wales prop Gethin Jenkins ahead of his record-breaking Test match appearance on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Cardiff Blues forward will win his 105th cap against Millennium Stadium visitors Scotland, overtaking former fly-half Stephen Jones at the top of Wales' all-time appearance chart.
Jenkins made his Test debut in 2002, and despite a difficult RBS 6 Nations campaign this season that has seen him sin-binned in successive games, he remains key to the Wales set-up.
"Gethin is one of the most intelligent rugby players in his position in the history of the game," Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Edwards said.
"He is an all-round rugby player, not just a prop forward who scrummages, but one of the first players I go to at half-time and have a chat about anything he thinks we need to be concentrating on. I totally respect his opinion.
"For Gethin and a sold-out capacity crowd we will have won all our home games if we win tomorrow, but we know Scotland are a big challenge."
Wales have not been beaten by Scotland, home or away, since 2007, and they will start the countries' 119th meeting as firm favourites despite a Six Nations campaign scarred by inconsistency.
Comprehensive defeats against Ireland and England have left Wales out of trophy contention on the tournament's final weekend for the first time since 2010.
"We want to finish as high up the table as we can," Edwards added.
"Since I have been involved (with Wales) we have either come first or fourth in the Six Nations - there has been nothing in between. We are pretty determined to come third.
"It is not a dead rubber. It's still an international match between Scotland and Wales. There is no such thing as a dead rubber there.
"We've got a proud home record this year and we want to go unbeaten through the tournament at home.
"The draw was difficult this year with Ireland and England away, and we lost those two games, but we are determined to win all our home games.
"If we win all our home games it will be satisfactory, though obviously not to the standard of the last two years.
"But winning all your home games, particularly after a (British and Irish) Lions Test series wouldn't be too bad an effort, but if we lose tomorrow it will be a bit worse than that."
Wales have looked flat and uninspired at times in this season's competition, and for those players who went through last year's Six Nations, then the Lions tour, a four-Test autumn campaign and now the current competition, it has undoubtedly proved a demanding schedule.
"I am not in their (players') bodies, but we could say statistically that when you've won the last two championships, had success at the last World Cup and a lot of those lads won the Lions series, and so we could use all that as an excuse, but I am not so sure to be honest.
"(Lock) Alun-Wyn Jones said to me today that he is not using it as an excuse.
"He feels that we just got outplayed by England and Ireland on the day, and we have to make sure that doesn't happen against Scotland."
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