Warburton in doubt for 'decider'
Wednesday 07 March 2012
Sam Warburton, the Wales captain, fears he could miss the rest of his country's Grand Slam quest after being ruled out of Saturday's game against Italy in Cardiff. Warburton failed to recover from a knee ligament injury suffered during the victory over England at Twickenham 11 days ago.
The flanker now faces a race against time to play in what could be a Six Nations title decider against France on 17 March. Warburton said: "I don't know about next week. I hope so, because I'm desperate to play. I'm gutted to miss out on playing at the Millennium Stadium for the second time in this Six Nations."
Warburton will be particularly eager to settle a personal score with Les Bleus following his controversial red card against them in the World Cup semi-final five months ago. Justin Tipuric, 21, of the Ospreys, will make his first start at Test level when he deputises for the captain on Saturday.
However, Warburton will be encouraged by the recovery of centre Jamie Roberts from a similar injury to face the Azzurri in Cardiff. The Wales coach, Warren Gatland, said: "Initially Jamie was a big concern but he has fronted-up in training and there are no doubts over his fitness."
Hooker Matthew Rees makes his first appearance of the tournament after recovering from a calf injury and will form an all-Lions front-row with Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins, the new captain. Jenkins said: "It's great to add Matthew's experience to a young team that is full of confidence."
Wales L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins (capt), M Rees, A Jones, AW Jones, I Evans, D Lydiate, T Faletau, J Tipuric. Replacements K Owens, P James, L Charteris, R Jones, L Williams, JHook, S Williams.
Hull v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger admits 'I am not in the best position' as contract uncertainty continues
Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
Secret to Liverpool’s title charge is Brendan Rodgers’ ability to keep changing formation – and Raheem Sterling’s gift of adapting to his manager’s wishes
Steven Gerrard profile: the Lion of Liverpool who embodies fight for Hillsborough justice and is poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
Spurs ‘agree deal’ with former Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 5 Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave