Who is Dafydd Jenkins? The young captain set to lead Wales out for their Six Nations opener

Jenkins is no stranger to leading a team after captaining the Exeter Chiefs at just 19 years old. Credit: PA images

Wales will face Scotland in their first Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff this Saturday, February 3.

The sold out opener will see a younger line up selected by head coach Warren Gatland, with youngster Cameron Winnett being handed his international debut at full-back. Winnett's Cardiff team-mate Alex Mann is also in line for a debut off the bench.

But, at just 21 years old, Dafydd Jenkins will be the second youngest Welsh captain ever behind the great Gareth Edwards. 

The Bridgend native made his Premiership debut for Exeter Chiefs in 2022 and since then has rapidly risen through the ranks.

Jenkins is no stranger to leading a team having developed under the watchful eye of veteran coach Rob Baxter at Chiefs, a team he captained at just 19 years of age.

During the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Jenkins was the youngest player in the Wales squad. He exudes a confidence that belies his age. On the biggest stages, he looks comfortable.

This week, those inside the camp have drawn comparisons to former Wales great Alun Wyn Jones and his statesman-like aura. Members of the backroom staff have explained that he is not the biggest talker but will lead by example. Sometimes it's the small things, like being last to leave the gym, as was pointed out to ITV Wales.

Speaking about how they're feeling as a team in the run up to Saturday's game, Jenkins said: "We mainly feel really excited, but also that will to do well for each other. Obviously I've grown up with a lot of these boys and come up through the 18s and 20s with them. So it's a real feeling of everyone wants to do well for each other".

At just 21 years old, Dafydd Jenkins will be the second youngest Welsh captain ever behind the great Gareth Edwards.  Credit: PA images

In the absence of Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake due to injury, Gatland has called upon the young lock to captain the wider squad in only his second Six Nations campaign.

In a press conference, the Wales boss said: "We’ve been incredibly impressed with Daf in terms of his professionalism and how he prepares. It’s a great opportunity for Daf, he’s captained Exeter on a number of occasions, he’s a well-respected member of the squad.

"I rang and spoke to him and he was absolutely delighted to accept the role and I’m sure that he’ll do a great job and get a huge amount of support from the rest of the squad."

Jenkins has just 12 caps to his name and he features in a highly-competitive second-row area with the likes of Will Rowlands and Adam Beard.

He will be leading an inexperienced team; of the 34 players, nearly half have cap totals in the single digits. Many have written off Wales' chances of success at the Six Nations, particularly in light of the absence of players like Morgan, Lake, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams, and Louis Rees-Zammit.

Wales centre, George North, will also be absent from Saturday's match due to a shoulder injury.

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…