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Wales skipper Warburton ready to move on from red card ahead of World Cup opener

Published 18/09/2015

Captain Sam Warburton will lead Wales into World Cup battle on Sunday
Captain Sam Warburton will lead Wales into World Cup battle on Sunday

Wales captain Sam Warburton says that his last World Cup playing experience - a red card in the 2011 semi-final against France - "feels like a lifetime ago".

Warburton will return to the World Cup arena on Sunday when Wales tackle Pool A minnows Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.

The Cardiff Blues flanker was sent off by Irish referee Alain Rolland the 17th minute of Wales' semi-final against France at Eden Park in Auckland following a dangerous tackle on Les Bleus wing Vincent Clerc.

Wales, despite being reduced to 14 men for more than an hour, lost the game only 9-8, while Warburton was subsequently suspended.

Since then, though, he has gone on to win more than 50 Wales caps, break the captaincy appearance record for his country and skipper the British and Irish Lions on a Test series-winning tour of Australia.

"I put that to bed about three years 11 months ago, really," said Warburton, when asked if the 2015 World Cup campaign meant closure for what happened in New Zealand.

"When people mention it I will think about it, and if someone asks about 2011 the first thing I think of is the red card.

"This is a different scenario and has no bearing on the way I'm going to tackle.

"For me, it feels ages ago. So much has happened since then, as an individual and as a team.

"That experience feels like a lifetime ago."

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