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Wales captain Sam Warburton still gets thrill from Six Nations selection

Published 27/01/2016

Sam Warburton led Wales to the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup
Sam Warburton led Wales to the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup

Sam Warburton sprayed a forecourt with petrol the first time he won selection to Wales' RBS 6 Nations squad.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions' unflappable captain rarely loses his cool these days, but six years ago he admitted it was a different story.

The Cardiff Blues flanker revealed he still gets the same goosebumps on winning Six Nations selection as his first call-up for the tournament, back in January 2010.

"I'll never forget that moment in 2010, I was filling up my car with petrol, I wasn't sure whether I was going to be in the squad or not, and the message came through that I had made it," said Warburton.

"And I still remember the way I reacted, I think I did spill some petrol.

"I must have shouted out loud or something too.

"It was just some petrol station in Leicestershire somewhere, I was coming back home from university.

"You still get the same emotions now. It's still great when that message finally comes through, even now.

"It's a tournament you've wanted to be involved in all your life.

"You always feel privileged to be part of it."

Wales start the Six Nations by taking on Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, February 7, with Warburton admitting the opening weekend can often dictate the entire tournament's course.

"If you slip up twice you'll cost yourself the championship," said Warburton.

"That's why the first game is so massive, and away games are so tough."

Wales boss Warren Gatland has previously labelled Ireland's tight gameplan under head coach Joe Schmidt as lacking inspiration.

This year however Wales' Kiwi boss insists he fully understands exactly why Schmidt and Ireland would be loath to expand their style - especially after winning the tournament twice in succession.

"The gameplan has been limited but incredibly effective," said Gatland of Ireland's dogmatic approach.

"It's hard when you're beating some of the best teams in the world and being incredibly successful, to go away from that.

"I expect Joe to be fairly tight in the way they play the game.

"But we saw with Leinster how their game developed over a period and I'm sure it will be the same with Ireland.

"I'm sure Ireland will look to catch teams out by the way they potentially would play.

"I understand why they play like that, it's harvesting something that's been so successful."

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