Analysis: How Jason Jenkins has made an immediate impact at Leinster

Much of the towering lock’s best rugby comes in the darker corners of games: mauls, scrums and rucks.


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TWO GAMES INTO the new campaign with Leinster and Jason Jenkins has already played more than half the minutes he managed in a full season with Munster.

The towering 26-year-old was desperately unlucky with injuries during his year with the southern province and he even arrived in Leinster with a finger issue, but he’s now fully fit and has looked sharp over the past fortnight.

Leinster went to the market for a big, powerful tighthead lock last season and ended up finding their man just down the M7. Unfortunately, Munster never got to see the best of Jenkins but his two performances for Leinster so far suggest he could have a big impact in the blue jersey, even if they haven’t been against the strongest opposition.

There’s more to Jenkins than just the grunt work but he excels in the tight. Much of his best rugby comes in the darker corners of games – mauls, scrums, and rucks. At 6ft 8ins and around 125kg, he is a large human being who puts his size and power to good use. South Africa has plenty of big men, so you have to be a pretty good big man to get capped by the Springboks, which Jenkins has on one occasion back in 2018.

Leinster’s maul has been destructive so far this season, with Jenkins excelling in this area. He is consistently accurate in nailing his role at mauls. Below, we get a couple of examples against Zebre. 

As per their mauling plan at this lineout, Jenkins slots in behind back lifter Ross Molony and the pair of them do a good job at that front right edge of the maul, helping Leinster to get initial forward momemtum.

While Zebre do manage to stop the more upright Molony, watch below how Jenkins continues to work forward even as he rotates inwards due to the Zebre counter-drive.

It’s an example of Jenkins being intuitive with his positioning and angles within mauls.

With the power then coming on from behind him, Jenkins can straighten back up and lead Leinster through against the completely isolated Zebre hooker to win a penalty.

They kick it down the left and go straight back to the maul. Again, Jenkins is a key man as Leinster earn another penalty.

As we see above, he slots in behind the back lifter – Max Deegan in this case – and helps to get Leinster moving forward up on that side, rotating up past lineout jumper Molony.

Jenkins’ power is evident and then he does a superb job of keeping that front right edge ultra-solid as Zebre’s hooker slams in on the counter.

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