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'I was a bit of a head-banger, people thought I'd done a Cantona' - Garin; THE DAY THAT SHOCKED WELSH RUGBY: PART II.

Garin Jenkins' anguish and the night he stayed in his kit until 9.30pm ON that fateful day, Garin Jenkins was about to take a throw-in at a lineout when he heard his mother Anne shouting to catch his attention.

By a strange quirk, play had moved to the exact spot where his father had collapsed. Jenkins climbed over the advertising hoardings and disappeared into the crowd. His father's heart had stopped twice, but heart massage was able to restore a pulse and he was taken by ambulance to Cardiff Royal Infirmary.

"I thought Garin was running to take a quick lineout, but he jumped over the fence," said Back.

Players feared Jenkins was about to "do a Cantona". The Manchester United star had launched a kung-fu kick at a Crystal Palace fan moments after being sent off at Selhurst Park, barely two years earlier.

Moore said: "I could hear shouting and I was worried Garin had been the subject of abuse and gone in the crowd to sort someone out. But it was his mother calling for him to help. We didn't know what was going on and were stood there wondering who was going to throw the ball into the lineout."

The match was held up for three minutes while Swansea substitute Chris Wells got ready to come on.

"It was just a surreal day and there's not much else I remember about the match. I know we won, but I can't remember if it was a cup or league match," went on Moore.

Young recalls the feeling in the Cardiff dressing room after the final whistle and his desperation to get away from the ground with the result the furthest thing from his mind.

He said: "Gwyn's injury overshadowed everything that day and, of course, Garin's dad having a heart attack made it worse.

"My recollection is of everybody being drained emotionally afterwards. And I remember the feeling I had in the dressing room afterwards, sitting there in disbelief. "I didn't want to hang around and listen to anything, I just wanted to get home. It was a horrible day to be a part of. As well as how sombre it was during and after the game, I remember the mood around the club in the days and weeks afterwards. It was quiet, reserved, subdued, with everyone hoping Gwyn would make the best possible recovery."

'I was a bit of a head-banger, people thought I'd done a Cantona' TWENTY years on, Jenkins' memories of that extraordinary day remain vivid.

"I didn't know of the severity of the injury to my good friend Gwyn Jones and I had got on with the match. You tried to put things like that to the back of your mind and focus on the job," he said.

"Cardiff brought their Polish hitman Gregory Kacala on in the second half and the first thing he did was smash me in the chops, but I didn't care and smiled at him.

"Cardiff kicked for touched and the ball had landed near where my parents were stood in the crowd. As I ran to retrieve it for the lineout, I could see my mother crying and shouting out my father had collapsed.

"People thought, because of the reputation I had at the time as a bit of a head-banger, I'd done a Cantona. I hadn't.

"We were helpless as we watched the doctors treating my dad. They were absolutely superb and I will never forget the way everybody helped my family.

"I don't know how I got to the Royal Infirmary, but I was in my kit until about 9.30pm that night. It was while we were waiting that I found out the severity of Gwyn's injury.

"It was unbelievable what had happened. When you play rugby, any sport, you want to win, but off the field you respect your opponents.

"I just got on with it and played the following week against Pontypridd and fought my way back into the Wales squad for a couple of games in the Five Nations."

How the aftermath unfolded BOTH Jones and Eirvil Jenkins were eventually transferred to Rookwood Hospital in the Llandaff suburb of Cardiff.

But while Jones slowly recovered, Jenkins senior never got over his heart attack.

"My father was in a coma for a couple of months and went blind because of the heart attack," explained Jenkins.

"It had also affected his memory. He couldn't remember much and didn't have any recollection of events that day.

"But, the following June, I was on tour with Wales and ended up being Wales captain for the final minutes of the Test with South Africa.

"My brother Craig was with him listening to the match on the radio. Craig said, when the commentator reported I had taken over the captaincy, my father opened his eyes and started crying. Less than a month later, he passed away."

For the record, Swansea won IT turned out to be one of the most meaningless matches in the history of this fixture, but Swansea prevailed that day to the tune of 31-22. Scott Gibbs, Stuart Davies and Rob Appleyard scored their tries, with Arwel Thomas landing two conversions, three penalties and a drop-goal.

Cardiff responded late on with a brace of tries from Gareth Thomas, Jarvis having landed four penalties, but they slipped to third in the table behind leaders Swansea and Pontypridd.

"There wasn't much celebrating after the match. Normally, our changing room would be buzzing after a win like that over Cardiff, with singing and some of the boys having a fag, but it was quiet and sombre," said Back.

"Instead of going out on the town I think all the boys went straight home - all of us were shell-shocked by Gwyn's injury and Garin's father collapsing.

"None of us had expected to be part of a day like that when we arrived at the Arms Park."

The teams were as follows... Cardiff: J Thomas; G Thomas, M Hall, L Botham, N Walker; L Jarvis, R Howley; S John, J Humphreys (capt), D Young (L Mustoe, 52), J Tait, D Jones (G Kacala, 56), S Williams, E Lewis, G Jones (J Ringer, 13).

Scorers: Tries: Thomas (2); pens: Jarvis (4).

Swansea: M Back; A Harries, M Taylor, S Gibbs, R Rees; A Thomas, A Booth; J Evans, G Jenkins (capt, C Wells, 63), C Anthony, P Arnold (T Maullin, 77), A Moore, R Appleyard, S Davies, D Thomas (C Charvis, 74). Scorers: Tries: Appleyard, Gibbs, S Davies; cons: A Thomas (2); pens: A Thomas (3); drop-goal: A Thomas. Ref: David Davies (Llanbradach).
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 13, 2017
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