Captaincy delight for Warburton

Cardiff man also welcomes the return of Henson

By Peter Fraser - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsPeteF.   Last Updated: 11/05/11 2:30pm

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Warburton: 'Over the moon' after being named captain of Wales

Warburton: 'Over the moon' after being named captain of Wales

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Sam Warburton admits he is "over the moon" to have been named Wales captain for the warm-up Test with the Barbarians.

The Cardiff Blues flanker will lead out Warren Gatland's side at the Millennium Stadium on June 4 for the first time as they begin their preparations for September's World Cup.

Warburton has been handed the captaincy in the absence of rested Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees and, at the age of just 22, he admits it is a slight surprise.

But the 14-time international is also ecstatic to have the opportunity to skipper his country and did not hesitate in accepting Gatland's invitation.

"It's fantastic," Warburton told

"Obviously the World Cup is at the back of my mind, but staying injury-free over the summer and having a good pre-season is my main focus at the moment."
Sam Warburton Quotes of the week

"When I was asked to be captain by Warren, after I managed to bite my tongue, of course I was always going to do it. I'm over the moon."

Having only made his international senior team debut in 2009, Warburton is considered a relatively inexperienced choice.


But he has captained Wales at different youth levels and he is calm about the task he is facing and hopes to follow the example set by the likes of Ryan Jones.

"I'm a pretty relaxed guy anyway so I'm not going to be banging peoples' heads on the wall before kick-off," he said.

"I'll just prepare for the game as I prepare for all my other Test caps.

"I'm going to make sure I do my thorough analysis of the opposition, make sure everybody is in the right frame of mind and knows what our game-plan is, and go out an enjoy the day."

Gavin Henson has been selected in Gatland's 24-man, despite being suspended by Toulon in April while the French club investigated an alleged altercation involving team-mates following a league victory over Toulouse.

The 29-year-old gained a second chance, being restored to Toulon's squad and appearing as a substitute during the defeat against Montpellier on Saturday.


Warburton said of Henson, who has not played for Wales since the 2009 RBS Six Nations Championship: "I haven't met Gavin before so I am looking forward to seeing him in the squad.

Henson: Wales return

"Hopefully he can bring the form he had a few years ago this summer, and hopefully for the World Cup."

September's World Cup finals in New Zealand are rapidly approaching and Wales will step up their preparations after the match against the Barbarians by taking part in two intensive training camps in Poland before three remaining matches in August.

But, having missed a tour to New Zealand with Cardiff last summer due to a broken jaw, Warburton does not want to look too far into the future.

"I'm trying not to get my hopes up," he said of the World Cup. "I'm not really thinking about it, to be honest.

"There are still four games to play before then and hopefully I can come through them injury-free.

"Obviously the World Cup is at the back of my mind, but staying injury-free over the summer and having a good pre-season is my main focus at the moment."

Wales International rugby union player Sam Warburton was launching the new adiZone in Swansea. An outdoor multisport giant gym, designed and developed by adidas, adiZones can be used by anyone, at anytime, all year round.

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