Warburton to skipper Wales against England
August 1, 2011
Warburton will lead Wales into their World Cup warm-up clash with England this weekend © Getty Images
Flanker Sam Warburton will captain Wales against England at Twickenham on Saturday after regular skipper Matthew Rees was ruled out of the game with a neck injury that may require surgery.
Rees has reportedly been suffering from the neck complaint for several weeks although coach Warren Gatland is hoping that any operation required to treat the injury could be delayed until after the Rugby World Cup later this year.
The 30-year-old Rees, who won his 50th Test cap against France in this year's Six Nations, will miss this weekend's clash and it is unclear whether he will feature in the return match at the Millenium Stadium on August 13 or against Argentina the following weekend.
As a result, Warburton will lead his country for the second successive game having led them into the 31-28 defeat to the Barbarians in June.
"Matthew's had a bit of a neck problem for a few weeks. He's getting injections today and we're hopeful he will be alright in the next week or two," Gatland told WalesOnline. "An operation is a definite possibility but we are hoping it definitely won't be before the World Cup. If he doesn't improve, he may need something after the World Cup.
"There is a bit of nerve pressure and we're hopeful the injections will help. It is mainly affecting him when he is trying to sleep. If he doesn't improve and it gets worse there is always that risk (he may miss World Cup) but we're hoping there will be a significant improvement in the pain he is experiencing.
"Ideally, you would like him to play in the warm-ups because you don't want him to go in cold. He's getting frustrated because he hasn't been able to do much in the last couple of weeks and he can see the other players going away from a bit. I think Sam did a good job as captain against the Barbarians and he will do it this week."
More to follow...
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