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Red-carded Warburton says thanks to his fans

By Alex Lowe

Wales skipper Sam Warburton has thanked the Welsh public for the support he has received since his red card in the World Cup semi-final against France.

The 23-year-old was sent off just 17 minutes into Wales' agonising 9-8 defeat for a tip tackle on Les Bleus' wing Vincent Clerc.

The incident overshadowed a series of stellar performances from the Cardiff Blues' openside, who has since admitted that referee Alain Rolland, who came in for fierce criticism in some quarters, was correct to show him the red card.

Warburton is understandably keen to put the incident behind him and get on with what promises to be a lengthy international career, but he admits he has been stunned by the messages of support he has received, which have included being consoled by strangers while out shopping.

“Wherever I go there are always references to the red card, people saying ‘unlucky' and stuff like that so I can't get it out of my mind, but when I am at the training ground either with the Blues or Wales no-one talks about it so it helps me forget about it.

“I have had a few hugs off strangers. I have had great support and knowing everyone in Wales is behind me, with the post I have received and emails and all sorts of communication.

“But I see the red card as a motivation to play well. I drew a line under it as soon as it happened and I have moved on.”

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