Wales may get lowest crowd

 

NEIL JENKINS is confident he will shake off the flu and play in Saturday's Test between Wales and the US Eagles at Cardiff Arms Park. The Pontypridd captain, outhalf and record Welsh international points scorer missed training yesterday.

But Jenkins, who has amassed 498 points from 46 appearances, hopes to take a full part in today's, session.

He is currently filling the fullback position, having replaced injury victim Wayne Proctor during Wales' 28-19 defeat by Australia last month.

Coach Kevin Bowring kept him there, following an assured display, against world champions South Africa a fortnight later, and he starts 1997 as clear first choice number 15.

If Jenkins is forced to withdraw, then Cardiff's Justin Thomas would be his likely replacement.

Wales could be watched by one of their lowest ever crowds on Saturday as only 10,000 tickets have so far been sold for their final Five Nations Championship warm up game.

It is the third Cardiff international in six weeks, although more than 40,000 spectators witnessed each pre Christmas Test against Australia and world champions South Africa.

But the Eagles' tour has proved a low key affair, their development trip not helped by freezing British weather.

"We would expect an increase in demand during the next few days," said a WRU spokeswoman. "But at the moment, ticket sales stand at approximately 10,000."

Despite little apparent interest from the punters, Wales continued their preparations yesterday under acting captain Scott Gibbs.

The former St Helens rugby league centre replaces banned hooker Jonathan Humphreys, who was sent off during Cardiff's, Heineken European Cup semi final defeat in Brive last Sunday.

"I am assured it is a temporary position, but I see it as an opportunity," said 25 year old Swansea player Gibbs.

"I want to lead the side to victory, and thrust us into the Five Nations Championship. I am relishing another challenge, and for me, it is a landmark in my Wales begin their Five Nations campaign against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday week, and Bowring is confident that Gibbs can inspire a confidence building victory this weekend.

The Eagles will announce their side at a news conference this morning.