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By Mark Orders

A key question for Wayne Pivac as he finalises his Wales squad to tour South Africa is whether to include the hot prospect who’s been turning heads in the south-west of England and beyond this season.

Dafydd Jenkins is only 19, but he has already started in the Gallagher Premiership for Exeter Chiefs and last month he was named man of the match when helping Exeter University to victory in a high-quality British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Super Rugby final.

Wales are said to have kept an eye on the 6ft 7lb, 17st 11lb Exeter University student amid speculation they could take him to South Africa with them this summer.

Read more : Welsh rugby warrior mounts dramatic late bid for Wales call

But Chiefs’ team boss Rob Baxter has already advised against such a call, saying: “I’m not sure whether taking him to South Africa this summer will be the best scenario for him right now.

“That’s nothing against Daf’s abilities. It’s just that process of is it the right time? Is he the right maturity yet?”

Baxter isn’t alone in holding such a view.

Exeter University director of rugby Keith Fleming has seen more of the youngster than any other coach this season and is a firm believer in his ability. Indeed, the long-serving Fleming, one of the most respected developers of rugby talent in the British Isles, rates him up there with England’s Henry Slade among the best young players he’s coached.

But he isn’t so sure about the wisdom of taking the teenager to South Africa: “I would think it’s pretty likely he’d be in the Wales squad but there’s a bit of me that thinks he’s a young man and Wales need to look after their assets.

“I personally don’t think it would be the right thing (to take him).

“But there is no doubt about his ability.

“He is an outstanding talent.”

Jenkins helped spur Exeter University to a 14-13 victory over their Durham counterparts in the BUCS final. Trailing 13-7 with just minutes left on the clock, they launched a multi-phase assault which took them to within metres of the whitewash, but no-one could pierce the defensive line. Then Jenkins got the job done, spotting a chink in Durham's rearguard and forcing his way through it. You can read more about Jenkins here.

The score crowned a superb performance that had seen Jenkins command the lineouts and work overtime around the field, carrying, tackling and challenging for turnovers.

Asked how the lad from Porthcawl Comprehensive compared with the many other players he’d coached at the Devon college, Fleming said: “He’s one of the best.

“I would hold him alongside Henry Slade.

“He has unbelievable maturity for such a young man, he’s a born leader and he has a great rugby brain.

“So it’s all stacked in his favour.”

Wales have Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones and Seb Davies as front-line locks, with Ben Carter and Rhys Davies among the back-up crew. The question for them is how quickly they need to develop Jenkins.

There seems little doubt that he will break through at some point.

How quickly that will be should become a bit clearer next Tuesday, when Pivac names his squad for the three-Test trip.

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Dive Deeper:
The three young bolters who may burst into 37-man Wales squad Pivac names for South Africa amid raft of injuries
The Wales boss will name his squad early next week but he has a host of injury problems to deal…
Wales star Ross Moriarty to undergo surgery and now a major doubt for South Africa tour
Moriarty has been on the sidelines for the past six weeks and has now elected for surgery to solve the…
The Welsh rugby warrior who's mounting a dramatic late bid to make Wales' squad for South Africa
Injuries have bedevilled him, but he showed his quality again last weekend
The final five key decisions facing Wayne Pivac as he ponders seismic Alun Wyn Jones call ahead of gruelling Springbok series
They play a three-Tests series against the Springboks in July
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Ross Moriarty to undergo surgery and could miss Wales’ tour of South Africa
The back-row forward has been sidelined since being hurt on Dragons duty
The new full-backs Wales are considering for South Africa tour including the most exciting option of the lot
There's little competition behind Liam Williams this summer, meaning some newer faces could get Wales call-ups
Get all your news in one place