Judgement day dawns for Jenkins and Wales

WALES will share a beer with the Fiji team after today’s World Cup eliminator in Nantes but are determined it will be a party and not a wake.

Head coach Gareth Jenkins has been building towards this match for his entire 16-month tenure and when the flak was flying he urged the Welsh public to judge him on the World Cup.

Today is judgement day. If Wales win, they qualify for the quarter-finals. Jenkins will have achieved the minimum expected requirement and can throw the kitchen sink at South Africa in the last eight.

If Wales lose, it is the end of the road for their World Cup ambitions and possibly for their coach. Fiji will head to Marseille and Jenkins will have failed.

“There has been a realisation of how significant this game is — and it is hugely significant because of the fact it is the game that decides who goes to the quarter-final,” said Jenkins.

“It has been a big week. It is a big game. We know what it means. We are a game away from touching the quarter-finals. The winner will take the honours. We all realise that.”

Defeat would leave Jenkins with a record of just six wins and a draw from 20 Test matches in charge and facing huge questions over his future.

“There are people who make the call on that, not myself,” said Jenkins, who is under contract until the end of the 2008 Six Nations.

WALES: G Thomas (Cardiff Blues, capt); M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), D Peel (Llanelli Scarlets); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), C Horsman (Worcester), AW Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), C Charvis (Newport Gwent Dragons), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets).

FIJI: K Ratuvou; V Delasau, S Rabeni, S Bai, I Neivua; N Little, M Rauluni (capt); G Dewes, S Koto, J Railomo, K Leawere, I Rawaqa, S Naevo, A Qera, S Koyamaibole.

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