Welsh war: Warburton still in limbo
Welsh war: Warburton still in limboSHARE
Wales captain Sam Warburton is set to miss Cardiff Blues' opening pre-season friendly at home to Exeter unless there is a 'peace deal' to end the long-running dispute between the Welsh Rugby Union and the country's four regional sides.
Instead he may well be reduced to sitting in the stands of Cardiff's Arms Park ground as the flank is not, technically, a Blues employee.
Warburton signed a controversial central contract with the WRU, which he believed would enable him to stay with his home region.
But although now fully fit, the ongoing 'civil war' between the WRU and the four regions over funding and competition structures, means the British and Irish Lions back row forward is set to be on the sidelines come Friday.
Cardiff's difficulty in trying to play Warburton is two-fold – they can't get insurance for a player who isn't on their payroll and they have also signed an agreement with the other regions not to field anyone on a WRU central contract.
Warburton would have been looking to get all the pre-season games he could given he has been out of action for the past five months with a shoulder injury suffered playing against Scotland during the Six Nations back in March.
While one friendly won't make too much difference, the worry will be that if the dispute between the WRU and the regions drags on, he could find himself having not played a competitive match this coming season ahead of the end-of-year internationals.