'Civil war' wont rock Welsh boat

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 13:21
Large sam warburton   warren gatl

Sam Warburton insisted the 'civil war' in Wales would not distract his side in their bid for an historic third successive Six Nations title.

Welsh captain Sam Warburton insisted the 'civil war' in Wales would not distract his side in their bid for an historic third successive Six Nations title.

No country has won Europe's premier international championship three times in a row, but that is the goal in defending champions Wales' sights.

However, the build-up to this latest title defence has been overshadowed by a bitter row between Wales' four senior regional clubs and the Welsh Rugby Union over the future of the professional game in the country, amid fears of an increasing player exodus that has already seen several Test stars pursue club careers in France and England.

The club future of Warburton, remains uncertain.

And a question mark remains over his fitness for Wales' Six Nations opener against Italy in Cardiff on February 1 given he hasn't played since November because of nerve damage to his shoulder.

But he was in buoyant mood at the tournament launch in London on Wednesday, even though Wales go into the Six Nations having been beaten by South Africa and Australia in November.

"You always look forward to the Six Nations, Warburton said. "It's what you are measured on."

The back row forward, British and Irish Lions tour captain when the combined side, coached by Wales boss Warren Gatland, triumphed 2-1 in Australia last year, added: "Shaun Edwards [Wales' defence coach] mentioned the three in a row in the dressing room after the Australia match. It's a chance to create history."

As for the off-field arguments bedevilling the Welsh game, Warburton said: "All that goes away when we are in the national camp where Warren has created a great environment."

Meanwhile Warburton was cautiously optimistic about his chances of playing against Italy.

"I think I'll be available for selection," he said. "I need to have a chat with Warren Gatland and the medics early next week to decide what's the best thing to do, whether that be go back to my club first to play a game."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 30 September 2016
Golden Lions v Sharks 15h00 Johannesburg
EP Kings v Pumas 16h00 Nelspruit
Western Province v Boland 17h10 Cape Town
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 18h35 Sportsground
Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
Tue, 04 October 2016
Edinburgh v Ulster 19h35 BT Murrayfield
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0