Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Warburton: I'm ready to return

Wales captain Sam Warburton has declared himself fully fit and raring to go ahead of the three-Test tour of Australia.

The 23-year-old flanker has not played since injuring a nerve in his shoulder as Wales clinched the RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam against France in Cardiff in mid-March.

When asked if he was back to 100 per cent fitness, the 27-cap openside said: "Yes, I feel good. Earlier this week I did a session with some upper body circuits, and I did some contact pad work and have had no issues so far. The physios and I are very happy."

He added: "I am waiting for an appointment to see (specialist) Michael Fox in London but that is just a final check-up.

"The physios said they will judge it on how I feel functionally when I am training, so if I am happy with it and I can take part in contact with no pain then happy days. We covered some contact today and I had no qualms about it."

The shoulder problem ended a frustrating Six Nations for Warburton, with additional leg and knee problems limiting the skipper to just 160 minutes of action from a possible 400 during the tournament.

But the talismanic forward says the break has left him refreshed as he approaches the end of an arduous season that included the prolonged build-up to the World Cup in New Zealand.

"I was over the moon with the Grand Slam but disappointed with the amount of game time I had," he said. "I would normally have to have a coach drag me off the field but with the injuries I had there was no way I could play on.

"Before that I had had a run of 14 or 15 Tests for Wales without picking up any injuries, that spell was always going to come to an end so maybe my body was telling me the games were taking their toll. I have had a few cortisone injections through the season to keep me going.

"We sat down with the physios and conditioners and they said this was a good chance to make sure my knee and shoulder problems go away and now I can fully take part in all sorts of training, so maybe it was a bit of a blessing. I feel nice and fresh."


From Belfast Telegraph