ELLIS Jenkins is relishing the chance to be the target of Rodney Parade jibes when Cardiff take on the Dragons on Sunday.

The 30-year-old will be in the thick of the United Rugby Championship action when the men from the Arms Park hunt their 16th straight win over their closest rivals.

The Wales flanker has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons to the extent that he feared his career would be cut short.

However, the painstaking rehab is worth it when getting the opportunity to take the field for the Blue and Blacks in Newport.

“I enjoy the derbies,” said Jenkins, who came up with a key turnover to help Cardiff steal the spoils last season. “You are playing against boys you have grown up with in age-grade or perhaps played for Wales with and the crowds are awesome.

“I always enjoy going to Rodney Parade. You get called all sorts... they aren’t names I can tell you before 9pm!

“It’s not friendly, but it’s in the right spirit. It all adds to the spice of the occasion. The atmosphere is amazing.

“They are just trying to put as much energy into the Dragons as they can and take as much energy out of us as they can and they do a pretty good job. I am sure there will be plenty of fireworks going off!”

South Wales Argus: CLASS ACT: Ellis Jenkins in action for Wales against South AfricaCLASS ACT: Ellis Jenkins in action for Wales against South Africa (Image: Press Association)

Jenkins suffered a career-threatening knee injury in the closing stages of a man of the match display in Wales’ win against South Africa in 2018.

Ruptured ligaments have meant that the flanker, who is a constant menace at the breakdown, has had to carefully monitor the workload on his knee.

“It’s tough. There is always going to be part of me that wonders what could have been if that injury hadn’t happened,” admitted Jenkins.

“I could say I don’t think about it, it’s fate or whatever. But there will always be part of me that wonders how different it could have been.

“I’ve had some good times along the way since then. People seem to forget I got back and played for Wales and captained Wales.

“I can still do it and I can still get myself up for games. The challenge for me has been being able to do that for weeks in a row.

“I played a couple of great games for Wales when I came back, but then the intensity and physicality tends to flare my knee up and I have to back off training. It was sort of a cycle of doing that.

“It’s been difficult. It’s taken a lot of work for me to make sure I can turn up for work every day and train.

“Sometimes, I still need to be treated a little bit differently, particularly after a big game.

“When the knee does feel good, I have to make sure I don’t get carried away and train like I’m 22 again, but also do enough that I am conditioned enough to play rugby.”