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Tipuric primed for Grand Slam clash

Justin Tipuric has declared himself ready to tackle one of the toughest jobs he could imagine next Saturday - filling Sam Warburton's boots in a Grand Slam game.

The 22-year-old Ospreys flanker proved his quality with a fine showing in Wales' 24-3 victory over Italy that set up next weekend's RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam tilt. The Wales camp say current medical opinion is that Warburton (knee) will be fit to tackle France, although it could conceivably be much later in the week before Tipuric knows either way.

"I am ready," Tipuric said. "Sam has made a name for himself - look at what he's done - but I have just got to keep working on my game and enjoy my rugby with the Ospreys. I've got to be patient. We both push each other to become better players."

The Wales squad will reassemble at their rural training base on Monday, with Warburton's fitness set to top the early-week agenda.

Warburton has played just one-and-a-half games in this season's Six Nations so far, suffering a thigh injury against opening opponents Ireland that forced him off at half-time, and then missing Saturday's victory over Italy due to a knee problem.

Tipuric made his first Wales start against Italy, and he believes that experience will put him in good stead if he is summoned to face France.

He added: "You are part of it when you are on the bench, but it's obviously a bit of a different feeling when you start a match. If I am lucky enough to be involved, it does give me an advantage of having had 80 minutes under my belt against Italy.

"I loved it. I just try to go on the pitch to enjoy myself and prove myself as a player."


From Belfast Telegraph