Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Sam Warburton highs and lows as Wales captain

Alun Wyn Jones has taken over as Wales captain from Sam Warburton ahead of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Warburton steps aside after a record 49 Tests at the helm for his country.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the highs and lows during his leadership reign.


* Warburton, who was appointed Wales captain only a few months earlier, led Wales to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals with a stirring 22-10 victory over Ireland in Wellington, Tries by Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies underpinned an outstanding Wales win as they reached the last-four on rugby's global stage for the first time since 1987.

* Warburton led Wales to a 2014 victory over South Africa in Cardiff, ending a run of 16 successive defeats against the Springboks. Wales won 12-6, with Warburton subsequently describing it as being among the best achievements of his career.

* Warburton broke Ryan Jones' record for most appearances as Wales captain when he led his country for a 34th time against 2015 Six Nations opponents Ireland in Cardiff. Warburton was sin-binned during the first-half, but he ultimately celebrated his career landmark in style as Wales triumphed 23-16.


* Wales' 2011 World Cup adventure ended in agonising fashion against semi-final opponents France in Auckland. Warburton was controversially sent off by Irish referee Alain Rolland for a dangerous tackle on Les Bleus' Vincent Clerc, and then looked on for more than an hour's action as 14-man Wales were edged out 9-8.

* Wales were just 30 seconds away from ending a long run of defeats against Australia when Wallabies full-back Kurtley Beale scored a dramatic try to edge his team home 14-12. The defeat, in December 2012, knocked Wales outside the world's top eight and consigned them to a punishing pool assignment for the 2015 World Cup, being drawn in the same group as Australia and England.

* Wales' hopes of chasing a third successive Six Nations title in 2014 were effectively ended by a 26-3 defeat against Ireland in Dublin. It was Wales' heaviest loss to the Irish for eight years, with Warburton and company proving powerless to prevent a rampant home pack from dominating the contest throughout, led by magnificent Munster flanker Peter O'Mahony.


From Belfast Telegraph