Wales Rugby: Sam Warburton Endorses Potential New Captain to Follow His Lead

Sam Warburton, former captain of Wales under Warren Gatland, has voiced his support for Jac Morgan as a strong contender to assume the captaincy for the upcoming World Cup.

Sam Warburton was Warren Gatland’s Wales captain(Image: Getty Images)

Drawing from his own experience, Warburton was named captain for Wales at the age of 22 back in 2011, becoming the youngest player to lead the team in a World Cup. Despite narrowly missing out on a place in the final, Warburton excelled in the role of openside flanker.

The similarities between the current situation and 2011 are apparent, with another hooker, Ken Owens, ruled out of the tournament due to injury after captaining the team in this year’s Six Nations. This leads Warburton to believe that a young leader may once again be chosen to fill the crucial role in France later this year.

Reflecting on his own experience, Warburton mentioned that he was announced as captain only a week or two before the team departed for the World Cup, as Matthew Rees had withdrawn due to injury. He emphasizes the importance of not burdening a young captain with unnecessary pressure during warm-up games, as injuries often occur in those matches. Therefore, he suggests that the official announcement of the captaincy should be made after the warm-up games, taking into account who emerges injury-free and in good form.

Warburton identifies Jac Morgan as a strong contender for the captaincy, given his personality, performances for Wales, and injury resilience. However, he acknowledges that the warm-up matches will ultimately determine the final decision. Other candidates, such as Tommy Reffell, could also be considered if they impress during the summer and leading up to the tournament.

Jac Morgan during last year’s U20 Six Nations

While the retirements of experienced players like Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, and Cory Hill have affected the team, Warburton believes that these departures may not be as detrimental as they initially appear. He suggests that these players’ presence in the World Cup was not expected when the coaching group assembled in 2019, and the younger players now have an opportunity to prove themselves on the international stage.

Warburton commends the retirements of Jones and Tipuric, acknowledging the sacrifices they made as they entered their 30s and prioritized their families. He believes that the decision allows them to enjoy their careers as club players while spending quality time with their loved ones. He sees this shift as an exciting chapter for Welsh rugby, where younger players can step up and showcase their abilities at the World Cup.

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