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Adams is well suited to defence at 13, says coach Jenkins

Adams is well suited to defence at 13, says coach Jenkins

Wales defence coach Gethin Jenkins insists Josh Adams has all the attributes to succeed at outside centre.

Usually a winger, Adams has been shifted into the 13 jersey for Fiji’s visit to the Principality Stadium in the Autumn Nations Series on Sunday.

Head coach Wayne Pivac revealed the positional change has been made with one eye on the Rugby World Cup, where players are often required to cover multiple positions within a relatively small squad.

Jenkins said: “He hasn’t played there much, but he is quite suited defensively.

“He does a lot of decision-making on the wing and he is quite square in what he does in terms of getting up high and reading the ball.

“Thirteens and wingers do pretty much a lot of the same things in a defensive system in terms of being on the edges.

“Hopefully, he adjusts quite well, and I had no hesitation in us getting him there.”

Jenkins pointed to the example of George North – who has successfully transitioned into the centres from the wing for Wales, helping them win the Guinness Six Nations 2021 title – as evidence the switch can be a roaring success with extra pace a real benefit in defence.

He added: “If you are 13 and you have got some gas, I think it does help.

“You have only got to look at George [North] in the centre in the Six Nations, and the South Africans, for example, how even when you bust them out wide, how much wheels they have got coming across.

“If you have got the gas to cover, it’s a big help.”

As defence coach Jenkins knows he has plenty on his plate after the defeat against South Africa with the prospect of the flying Fijians who are renowned for their fast and loose style of play.

The former loosehead prop revealed he is expecting the side coached by Welshman Gareth Baber in the absence of Vern Cotter to bring their usual flamboyant off-loading and physicality to Cardiff.

The 40-year-old added: “Any international game, you are expecting a physical encounter and Fiji are no different. If you look at the teams their players are in, they are normally the stand-out players for physicality.

“We know that is a big part of their game and we know the offloading aspect is another. It’s just up to us to manage it as best we can, and impose ourselves with our collisions.

“There are some exceptional bits of skill in their game that sometimes you aren’t going to be able to deal with. You have got to just get back as quick as you can and get back into the system.

“We were disappointed we lost against South Africa, but in terms of physicality it was a step in the right direction. There will be a lot of individual threats from Fiji, but as long as our system is right we’ll be able to deal with them.”

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