Warburton wants to be part of strongest Wales side he's seen

By Tom Webber 16 June 2018 161
Warburton wants to be part of strongest Wales side he's seen

If Sam Warburton manages to get back into the Wales set-up, he is confident it will be the best international side he has been a part of.

Warburton captained the British and Irish Lions in the drawn series against New Zealand but missed the entire 2017-18 season due to neck and knee injuries.

The flanker will return to action in August and is aware of the battle he has on his hands to regain his place in Warren Gatland's team, with Wales gaining wins over South Africa and Argentina despite other key absentees like Alun Wyn Jones, Liam Williams, Ken Owens, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies and Josh Navidi.

Warburton is not fazed by the challenge and believes Wales are in a great position to achieve success.

"If I was lucky enough to get back into the Wales team at any point in my career now, if I got into that team I could imagine the calibre of the 30-odd players around me I'd be looking around the room thinking, 'Crikey, I haven't been in a squad this strong before or ever from a Welsh perspective'," Warburton told Omnisport, speaking on behalf of Land Rover.

"So that would be really exciting to be part of that again and having full confidence in all the squad.

"Beforehand you might have thought there's perhaps 15 to 20 guys who could start a game, I think there's 30 guys who could start a game now and I think you couldn't complain with the selection either because the coach might go with a different player for a tactical reason.

"To have that much genuine talent around now at international level it would be a really exciting thing to be a part of."

Flankers Ellis Jenkins and James Davies shone in Test victories over South Africa and Argentina respectively, which Warburton feels highlights the depth of quality Wales possess in the back row.

However, he has no concerns about his own international future.

"It's just an absolute joke how many sevens there are in Wales at the minute. We're talking about the guys in the squad at the minute, with Josh Navidi at home, Justin Tipuric, I'm a big fan of Ollie Griffiths as well from the Dragons," Warburton said.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration but I think Wales have got the most strength in depth at openside flanker in world rugby.

"James and Ellis, I would really like to see those boys play together and see what damage they cause at the breakdown because if I was playing against those two it's probably one of the toughest internationals you're going to play all season."

He added: "There's been competition around in every position. I'd actually be slightly worried if there was no competition going on whatsoever.

"It's not really put me in a different situation to the past. I'm always going to believe in my own ability and back myself and if you don't get picked you put your hands up and admit you're perhaps not as good as the other player."

Sam Warburton is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has a heritage in rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite. Follow @LandRoverRugby

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Tom Webber

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