Jenkins still chasing the Lions dream
October 20, 2012
Gethin Jenkins has only started one match for Toulon this season © Getty Images
Wales prop Gethin Jenkins is still hopeful of a spot on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour despite a potential conflict with his club side Toulon.
Toulon are currently at the summit of the Top 14 Orange with seven wins from eight and are amongst the favourites for a spot in the final on June 1. With the Lions kicking off their 2013 tour in Hong Kong against the Barbarians the same day, there is a potential fixture clash in the pipeline.
His French side are adamant that they will not release their players for the tour until their club duties are fulfilled while Lions boss Warren Gatland has previously stated that he will only pick players who can commit for the entire tour.
This potentially means that if Toulon stick to their guns and block the release of any chosen Lions then Gatland may be forced to leave out the likes of Jenkins, Jonny Wilkinson and the Armitage brothers, if they were in the selection mix.
However, there is still a chance that Toulon will be forced to release their Lions contingent with International Rugby Board regulation 9.6b stating: "The quadrennial British and Irish Lions tour is a designated event and all players selected to participate shall be released. The release period shall ordinarily commence on June 1 and ordinarily conclude on the 2nd weekend of July in the relevant year."
Rule 9.9 further adds that players should be "available to train at least five clear days prior to the commencement of the international match, international tour or international tournament".
Back on the 2009 tour Nathan Hines opted to play for the Lions instead of appearing in the Top 14 title for Perpignan and Jenkins could be forced into a similar decision.
"I really want to go on another Lions tour and I don't know yet if clubs are obliged to release under IRB regulations or not," Jenkins told the Daily Telegraph. "The Lions is still the pinnacle for any player and Toulon certainly know how desperately keen I am to play for Wales.
"We had a meeting on Wednesday about release for Wales' game against the Wallabies on December 1 which falls outside the IRB release window but I think that's been sorted. The Lions is some way off but I would like that to be cleared up too because, if selected, I want to go."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.