Wales tour of Australia
Warburton excited by Wales return
June 5, 2012
Wales captain Sam Warburton is set to return to the Test arena after 11 weeks on the sidelines © PA Photos
He only has a few more days before he pulls the Wales jersey on again, but captain Sam Warburton is struggling to stay patient ahead of Saturday's match with Australia.
Warburton hasn't played for 11 weeks, since the Six Nations grand slam decider against France on March 17 when he was forced off with a shoulder injury. Since then he has been happy to watch watched Justin Tipuric establish himself as a rival for his number seven jersey with impressive performances for the Ospreys, something which bodes well for a tough three-Test tour of Australia.
"I'd been playing straight through from August, when the summer Tests started, right through to the Six Nations and my body was crying out for a bit of a rest," Warburton said. "As much as I wanted to play for the (Cardiff) Blues, I had to take a break to get the shoulder right. Now I've had a bit of a rest my body is crying out to play again - I'm getting withdrawal symptoms, so the sooner I get back the better. Of course, I would rather have gone into an international match with a few games of preparation under my belt, but I'm very happy going into the first Test this weekend. The good thing is that if I was to struggle in the game then we will have the guys on the bench to take over."
Warburton is set to play a key role in the test at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. He will be up against Australia's poacher-in-chief David Pocock, who is also captain for the series. Scotland showed how to nullify him in their 9-6 win though, a match in which John Barclay and Ross Rennie teamed up to stop him working his influence at the breakdown.
"It will be a great opportunity to play against David Pocock," Warburton said. "He is one of the world's best number sevens and I respect him a lot - that's what will make the game even more exciting for me."
Australia coach Robbie Deans is likely to recall a number of senior players after he handed five players their debuts in Newcastle. As such Wales will have to be at their very best to start the series with a win.
"Talking to some of the Lions guys, like Jamie Roberts, they told me it is massively important to win the first game because you can put yourself under so much pressure going into the next two Tests if you lose," Warburton said. "It is not the be all and end all, because there are still two games left, but it is still a massive factor in winning the series"
After the first test in Brisbane on Saturday, Wales play Australia in Melbourne on June 16 and Sydney on June 23.
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