The veteran prop admitted Wales arrived Down Under elated at their Grand Slam-winning performances in the RBS 6 Nations, but now he believes the hard lessons doled out in the 27-19 defeat in Brisbane will be beneficial in the long run.
The Wallabies hit back from their shock midweek 9-6 defeat to Scotland to put in an impressive performance on Saturday, leaving Wales with plenty to do to get back into the three-Test series.
And their task was made even tougher by the news Toby Faletau is out of the rest of the tour after breaking his hand in that first Test loss. Jenkins, an 88-cap veteran, knows better than most how hard it is to beat the best of the southern hemisphere having won just once and drawn once in 23 games against Tri-Nations sides.
“For a lot of the youngsters it was the first time they had played in the southern hemisphere,” Jenkins said. “Some of them were still walking on cloud nine a bit after winning the Grand Slam at home. But we all learned it is a different kettle of fish and you do well to win in the southern hemisphere. We have to tighten up before next week. We have got to be top of our game to get anywhere near a win down here.”
Defeat brought to an end Wales’ six-match unbeaten run this year and will leave caretaker coach Rob Howley with plenty to work to do.
Wales meet Super League side Brumbies tomorrow before heading to Melbourne for the second Test.
Scorers for Australia: Tries: Higginbotham, Genia, McCabe. Cons: Barnes 3. Pens: Barnes. Drop Goals: Barnes.
Scorers for Wales: Tries: Cuthbert. Cons: Halfpenny. Pens: Halfpenny 4.
AUSTRALIA: A Ashley-Cooper, C Vuna, R Horne, P McCabe, D Ioane, B Barnes, W Genia, B Robinson, T Polota-Nau, Kepu, R Simmons, N Sharpe, S Higginbotham, D Pocock, W Palu.
Replacements: A Faingaa for Horne (51), B Alexander for Robinson (59), S Moore for Polota-Nau (56), D Dennis for Sharpe (65), M Hooper for Palu (59).
WALES: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, J Davies, S Williams, G North, R Priestland, M Phillips, G Jenkins, K Owens, A Jones, B Davies, L Charteris, D Lydiate, S Warburton, T Faletau.
Replacements: A Beck for S Williams (56), J Hook for North (29), M Rees for Owens (52), P James for A. Jones (78), A Jones for Charteris (52), R Jones for Faletau (52).
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa).