Warburton ready to return

Wales skipper raring to go ahead of Australia tour

Last Updated: 17/05/12 5:09pm

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Sam Warburton: Feeling 'nice and fresh' ahead of tour of Australia

Sam Warburton: Feeling 'nice and fresh' ahead of tour of Australia

Sky Bet

Wales captain Sam Warburton has declared himself fully fit ahead of the three-Test tour of Australia.

The 23-year-old flanker has not played since damaging a nerve in his shoulder as Wales clinched the Grand Slam against France in Cardiff in mid-March.

The Cardiff Blues player went to see a specialist in London, and was considered a doubt to lead his country as Wales seek a first Test win over the Wallabies in Australia since 1969.

"I feel nice and fresh. I may be a bit short of match fitness which might tell in the last 10 minutes, but with 14 other super-fit guys on the field hopefully it won't be too much of an issue."
Sam Warburton Quotes of the week

But Warburton has made good progress in recent weeks, insisting he will be ready for the first Test in Brisbane on June 9 despite needing to see his specialist later in May to be given the all-clear.

Happy

When quizzed over his fitness, Warburton replied: "Yes, I feel good. Earlier this week I did a session with some upper body circuits, and I did some contact pad work and have had no issues so far. The physios and I are very happy.

"I am waiting for an appointment to see (specialist) Michael Fox in London but that is just a final check-up.

"The physios said they will judge it on how I feel functionally when I am training, so if I am happy with it and I can take part in contact with no pain then happy days.

"We covered some contact today and I had no qualms about it."

Warburton was restricted to just 160 minutes of action from a possible 400 during the Six Nations, something he found frustrating.

However, he is taking the positives from the situation, stating he feels 'nice and fresh' following an enforced break.

Disappointed

"I was over the moon with the Grand Slam but disappointed with the amount of game time I had," he continued.

"I would normally have to have a coach drag me off the field but with the injuries I had there was no way I could play on.

"Before that I had had a run of 14 or 15 Tests for Wales without picking up any injuries, that spell was always going to come to an end so maybe my body was telling me the games were taking their toll.

"I have had a few cortisone injections through the season to keep me going.

"We sat down with the physios and conditioners and they said this was a good chance to make sure my knee and shoulder problems go away and now I can fully take part in all sorts of training, so maybe it was a bit of a blessing.

"I feel nice and fresh. I may be a bit short of match fitness which might tell in the last 10 minutes, but with 14 other super-fit guys on the field hopefully it won't be too much of an issue."

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