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International focus: Sam Warburton ready for Wales return

11th November 2016

Sam Warburton is looking forward to focusing on his personal performance during Wales' clash with Argentina on Saturday and ensures he is in his best possible form.

Fellow Cardiff Blue Gethin Jenkins has been retained as captain to face Los Pumas this week, and Warburton has made it clear he must fight for his place in the Welsh side and does not take being captain for granted. 

Warburton made a return from injury during Cardiff Blues’ win at Benetton Treviso last week, and believes Jenkins retaining the captaincy will allow him to focus on his own performance on Saturday and hopefully restore Wales’ fortunes after a crashing defeat to Australia in the first autumn international. 

“I thought it was really important to play a game at regional level first. I’ve made the jump from injury to international level a few times in the past and I don’t think it’s quite worked out,” said Warburton.

“Rob Howley came up to me and said he was sticking with Gethin for continuity. He thought it was important for me coming back from injury that I focused on my role at number six and get the performance right.

“I completely agree with the decision. To come back and be captain would have been more difficult than to come back and just focus on my role at six.” 

Warburton has captained Wales a record number of times, however he is used to playing under Jenkins leadership, who is the captain for Cardiff Blues captain and sees him as a phenomenal leader. 

“He always puts his body on the line, empties the tank and I really respect that every time he comes of the pitch he’s knackered. He leads from the front and tactically he’s very astute and a very intelligent rugby player who is good at problem solving on the field.

“There’s also his experience. Those three qualities make him such a good captain. He would be one of the best leaders I’ve played with.”

Warburton continues: “If somebody asked me to list the best players I’ve played with, he’d definitely be up there. He’s in that top category of Wales’s greatest players. 

“It’s mad because two or three years ago people would be saying he’s slowing down. But I haven’t seen him slow down at all in training or in games.”