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Sam Warburton told he'll be back for Wales' crunch showdowns

By Robert Jones

Sam Warburton requires surgery on his fractured cheekbone but is still expected to feature in all four of Wales' autumn internationals.

Warburton clashed heads with Josh van der Flier in Cardiff Blues' 16-13 defeat by Leinster on Saturday and has been told by a specialist he will be sidelined for no more than a month.

"Warburton will have a small plate inserted in his cheekbone. It is estimated he will be out of action for approximately two to four weeks," a Blues statement read.

The positive injury update means that, barring any setback, Warburton should be available for the autumn opener against Australia in Cardiff on November 5.

And if the best possible prognosis proves correct, he could yet feature for the Blues once more before the international break begins.

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley had already indicated Warburton would be at the helm for a series of games that also sees Argentina, Japan and South Africa visit Principality Stadium.

Meanwhile, the race to host the 2023 World Cup will be contested by Ireland, France and South Africa.

World Rugby have confirmed that all three nations have demonstrated their ability to meet key criteria such as finance and venues in their applications to stage the tournament.

Italy had also begun the bidding process only to pull out last week when it emerged they lacked government support.

"We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which is clearly reflected in three strong and impressive applications," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.

"I would like to congratulate the unions for successfully progressing to candidate status."

The third and final phase of the host selection process begins on November 1 with the winner to be chosen a year later.

Belfast Telegraph


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