Warburton not distracted by captaincy
March 6, 2013
Sam Warburton is back at No.7 for Wales © Getty Images
Sam Warburton insists that he will be focused solely on putting in an assured performance at openside for Wales against Scotland and not on regaining the captaincy from Ryan Jones.
Warburton was injured for Wales' second round clash against France and interim coach Rob Howley opted to keep the same starting line-up for their match away at Italy. Warburton was included on the bench for that match and did enough to persuade Howley to start him at No.7 for Saturday's match against Scotland.
But Howley opted against handing the 2011 World Cup skipper back the captaincy. Instead Ryan Jones will lead out the side at Murrayfield, like he did in rounds two and three of the championship, and although Howley admits Warburton was "disappointed" not to be given the skipper's armband, Warburton concedes that there was no point changing the captaincy.
"Getting the captaincy back won't be a motivating factor. It will just be to play well for the side," Warburton said. "Ryan has done a great job over the last two weeks, and I don't see any need to change the team dynamics.
"It has obviously worked for us over the last couple of weekends, but Rob's said I can still have an input. It's not just Ryan on his own - he needs other guys. I might look closely at the contact area and how the referee is managing that, Adam Jones the scrum and Alun-Wyn [Jones] the lineout. It just makes sense to keep Ryan as captain.
"Ryan is the best captain I've played under, so I have no qualms with him leading the side. He has a wealth of experience and tactically he's very clued in."
And Warburton is ready to concentrate on "the big job" of subduing Scotland's back-row at Murrayfield. "The Scottish back-row is very big and physical, so maybe that has influenced the decision to play me at seven," Warburton said. "That is a challenge I really enjoy. Every time we play Scotland a focal point is always the battle of the back-rows because theirs is so good.
"We know it will be a big job for me, Toby [Faletau] and Ryan [Jones] to nullify their threats, but we will try to figure out a way to get the better of them over the next few days because that back-row battle is so important now in the modern game.
"I would imagine both teams will want to play at the weekend. Both teams have some pretty good backs they want to release, so the speed of ball will be interesting. It will be a big area for us as a team to win that back-row battle."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The real problem rugby faces is the concussion tests in place can be manipulated by the players." Part two of Rory Lamont on concussion. Part one is here
"The Lions is a meritocracy, pure and simple." The Crooked Feed gives its view on Gatland's call for a Lions quota system
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with a topless Carlin Isles and scantily clad Waratahs players featuring
"There is a duty to ensure that every person who decides to participate in rugby has an understanding of the possible lasting effects of concussion." Rory Lamont tells his story