Injury forces Jenkins into retirement

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A troublesome shoulder injury has ultimately forced Jenkins into immediate retirement, as Australia’s most-capped Sevens player and one of its longest-serving representatives.

“It's been tough,” he told RUGBY.com.au.

“I’ve been doing this for 14 years, playing rugby professionally and 10 years with the Sevens.

“So to be told you can't - to wake up one day and someone tells you that you can't do it anymore - it's scary but at the same time, there's a new chapter in my life about to start.

“So it’s sad in one aspect but exciting looking further ahead.”

Ed Jenkins is close to full fitness. Photo: Getty ImagesThe prognosis wasn’t one Jenkins took easily, heading to Brisbane last week for a second opinion on the joint.

“I saw a specialist down here in Sydney and as much as I respected his opinion I just knew that I had to get a second opinion just to make sure I was making the right decision with retirement,” he said.

“He (the Queensland specialist) just rammed it home and said there's no way I could be playing anymore.

“Even to just rehab it and play one last tournament would be crazy or to play after I get this final op, would be madness as well.”

As much as he was still coming to terms with the news, Jenkins had the difficult task of telling his teammates.

“I went into training on Friday morning and broke the news to the boys and it's probably one of the toughest things I've had to do,” he said.

“I've played with some of those guys for a long time now and to go in there and have to tell them that you're retiring, you won't be ever playing or putting that jersey on again was really tough.

“It was quite emotional.”

Australia captain Ed Jenkins and New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson.Jenkins will go under the knife next month, as he prepares for life after rugby.

He won’t be entirely lost to the Sevens, still contracted for the rest of the year, looking to stay involved behind the scenes and off the field, before looking for the next career step.

A life without rugby will be a different one for Jenkins and his wife Dominica, who are high school sweethearts, and their two-year-old daughter, Indiana.

Dominica can’t remember a time where rugby didn’t play a critical role in their lives, Jenkins travelling the world on the Sevens circuit, but she’s grateful for the opportunities it’s given them.

“I don't really remember life without football,” she said.

“I think if there was one word (I would use to describe it) it would be proud - being able to watch him play for Australia for so many years and there are so many different highlights.”

Though Jenkins’ glittering career may have ended before he planned, the Olympian isn’t one to dwell on the negatives.

Ed Jenkins will lead the Sevens for two more years. Photo: Getty Images“I loved Sevens and the aspect you get to travel around the world with a small group of guys and get to know them really well,” he said.

“That's something that I'll miss, putting on that jersey and running out to a full house is something I'll definitely miss.

“The fact that my little girl Indi won't get to see - well, she's seen me play - but probably not remember it, so would love to play for a few more years and for her to be able to have those memories when she's old that she could remember when Dad was a rugby player.

“So I’m upset that she won't get to see that and I look back at what I've achieved and what I've done and I can't really be upset.

“To get this far and to play so many tournaments, so you've got to look at the positives.”

The Aussie Sevens will next run out in the Sydney 7s on January 26, running until Sunday January 28. Buy tickets here.

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