Ellis Jenkins hopes to be back in action before Christmas, but is determined to ensure he is fully fit and firing upon his return.
The back row continues his rehabilitation process, having been ruled out since November 2018 with a serious knee injury.
The region’s captain was speaking at the Guinness PRO14 launch earlier today in the Cardiff City Stadium, the location for this season’s Grand Final, which will be held on June 20.
Jenkins has been delighted with the care he’s received from Cardiff Blues and Welsh Rugby Union medical staff an insists he was delighted to see his international team-mates enjoy success during the Six Nations.
“There’s not an exact date set in stone, but I am hoping to be back on the pitch this side of Christmas,” said the Welsh international.
“I had quite a bit of work done in the first operation, and they had to go in again and trim it up a little bit.
“Once I’d had that second operation, at the end of May, it became very unlikely that I would make the World Cup.
“After I sat down with the physios and decided it wasn’t going to happen it was a tough couple of weeks then.
“But once you get over that, it’s a case of trying to re-focus and be as positive as possible.
“It’s improving slowly. I am back jogging now, just testing the knee out and trying to build up the volume and intensity.
“It’s obviously been a while since I’ve been able to run, so it’s just trying to do as much as we can without overdoing it and making the knee react. It’s been much better since I had the second operation.
“You never know until you are back on the pitch, but I am positive, the physios are positive, the surgeon is positive, so just got to take every step as it comes and get back to full fitness.
“Having patience is very important.
“I am lucky I have had a very good staff around me. The physio, Gruff Parsons, has been working with has been brilliant, very thorough and detailed. He’s a top bloke as well.
“I do what I am told to do. They are the experts. I just turn up and work hard.
“There have been some tough moments. You train so hard for many years based on making your performance on the pitch as good as possible. When, all of a sudden, your focus changes, it can be tough.
“Once you have a little bit of time out and you see the success of Wales and some big wins the Blues had, it makes you jealous then.
“It makes you remember the reason we all play rugby is to win games and experience those victories. They are the sort of things you miss out on.
“It’s been great seeing the success all the Wales boys have had this year.
“I have seen how hard they all work and obviously been part of it for a long time. Seeing those boys get rewarded with the Six Nations and the Grand Slam was brilliant.
“But there’s always part of you that wishes you could be more a part of it and on the pitch with them rather than watching from the stand.”
The new Guinness PRO14 is fast approaching, with Wales’ Capital Region travelling to take on Isuzu Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth next week, before welcoming Edinburgh to Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, October 5.
Jenkins admits qualifying for the Guinness PRO14 final at the Welsh capital would be a special moment for the region, with memories of the European Challenge Cup victory in 2017 being a motivation for the squad.
The Cardiff Blues captain added: “I haven’t been able to get involved in the rugby stuff, being focused on the rehab, but the boys are happy after a big change for us having moved from the Vale training ground to the Arms Park, where had previously only been for matchdays.
“The boys are enjoying it and the guys at the Arms Park have done a really good job in getting the facilities together with the gym, medical room, team room, analysis and so forth. Everything is set up for us and the boys have really enjoyed the summer.
“We’ve spoken about wanting to start better than we did last summer, where we got off to a tough start and lost the first three games by a total of four points.
“It’s small margins but ultimately it cost us at the end of the season.
“Our main focus is putting our work from pre-season onto the pitch and the rest should take care of itself. We’re trying to be as thorough and detailed in our preparations as we can.
“Bilbao was probably the highlight for most of the boys who have been here over the last couple of years. It was a great day for us over there.
“You want to be involved in knockout rugby, you want to be involved in finals and you want to win silverware.
“It’s definitely something that we’ll be aiming for, especially with the final being here in Cardiff and it would be great to press for the final in our own city.
“It’s huge motivation and it would be great for the fans. You think back to Bilbao and there were so many travelling fans over there, but it would cost a little bit less to get to a final here in Cardiff.
“If we’re lucky enough to make it, I’m sure there would be a huge crowd and a lot of home supporters, but there’s a long way to go before that.”