Wales v Australia, Cardiff, December 1
Warburton seeks end to run of defeats
November 30, 2012
Sam Warburton takes the ball forward against the All Blacks © Getty Images
Wales captain Sam Warburton has called on his side to end their run of defeats against the southern hemisphere big three when they come face-to-face with Australia on Saturday.
Warburton skippered Wales to the 2012 Six Nations Grand Slam and also guided them to the semi-finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. But under Warren Gatland, who will preside over his 56th Test match on Saturday in the Wales hot seat, they have managed just one win in 19 matches during his tenure against the southern hemisphere triumvirate of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
That victory came against Australia back in 2008 and despite pushing the Wallabies close over the summer - they lost their three Tests by an eight, a two and a one point margin, Warburton wants his team to finally put those demons to rest with a win on Saturday .
"It has got to the stage now where enough is enough," Warburton said. "I said to the players before the New Zealand game that I've only been involved (with Wales) for three or four years and it is already getting on my nerves, this whole southern hemisphere scalp.
"I don't know how the likes of Ryan [Jones] and Mike [Phillips] - players who have been around the team 10 years or so - must feel. I definitely feel like that, and I'm sure the rest of the squad feel the same way."
If Wales are to end their long barren run this weekend, then Warburton's battle at the breakdown with Australian star and fellow openside flanker David Pocock will be critical. Pocock is back after recovering from injury, while Warburton shone against revered All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw last weekend, setting the scene for a mighty showdown.
"He [Pocock] is a real big threat on the ball on the floor, so it makes it very difficult to stop him," Warburton added. "He is a great player, an asset for Australia and understandably one of their best players over the past few years. I think it's great he is back to full fitness.
"It was the same last week when (All Blacks) fly-half Dan Carter went down with an injury. You don't want the best players missing because you don't want excuses. The players prefer playing a full-strength team."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
In the latest edition of Ask John, John Griffiths answers queries about Barbarians socks, bi-lingual referees and Lions who weren't Lions
"Here is the line-up I believe will take to the field on Saturday, let the abuse commence." Tom Hamilton has a punt at the Lions' starting XV for the first Test in his latest Tour Diary
"Drafting former Lions heroes and rising stars into your side at short notice may make for great copy but it does not make for a great side." Graham Jenkins on the lesson from the Lions' first loss