Jenkins receives a guard of honour. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

WALES’ RECORD CAP-HOLDER Gethin Jenkins’s final appearance as a player before retiring saw the prop bow out during Cardiff Blues’ 37-0 win at home to Zebre in the Pro14 on Sunday.

Jenkins, capped 129 times by Wales, came on in the 57th minute at the Cardiff Arms Park ground for what was his 195th Blues appearance against a depleted Zebre side, missing several Italy players on Test duty.

The 37-year-old announced his decision to retire during the week, citing a chronic knee injury as the reason he could not longer prolong his career. 

With a little persuasion from team-mates, Jenkins took the final conversion of the match but after having difficulty getting the ball on the tee, pushed his effort wide. 

“It was a strange feeling,” he said afterwards. “I’m gutted I missed the kick at the end. It’s the end of an era.

“There’s a great bunch of boys here and looking forward to being on the other side. We had a good crowd and they got behind us.

“The hardest thing is I feel fine out there (on the pitch) but it’s after. Everything comes to an end and it was important I got out there.”

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Cardiff coach John Mulvihill added: “He’s been practising all week so we thought he might get a bit closer.

“He has been terrible kicking in training – I haven’t seen him kick one all year. We wanted to get him a kick at goal and it was just nice for him to have the opportunity.”

Jenkins, who captained Wales during an international career that saw him play a key role in three Six Nations Grand Slams, is now set to take up a coaching role with the Blues’ academy.

His tally of 134 caps — Jenkins also played five internationals for the the Lions — leaves him fifth on an all-time list headed by World Cup-winning former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, who made 148 Test appearances for the All Blacks.

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