Sam Warburton

Warburton fit to lead Wales

Wales captain Sam Warburton has overcome a knee injury to face France. A Wales win will secure another Six Nations Grand Slam.

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Regions deny agreement over Warburton contract deal

The four Welsh regions have denied any agreement that Wales Captain Sam Warburton will be guaranteed to play regional rugby next season after signing Wales' first WRU 'central contract' at the weekend.

After signing the contract, his new employers - the WRU - had indicated Warburton would play his regional rugby in Wales with the Cardiff blues as part of the deal.

But in a statement issued by umbrella body Regional Rugby Wales, the regions said:

The introduction of one individual national contract at this particular time, however, leaves the Regions bemused and they would question the strategy behind the bizarre action by the WRU given that a final agreement on the future of Welsh Rugby has yet to be reached.

No overall framework has been agreed between the WRU and Regions, so no agreement to play centrally contracted players in the Regions currently exists.

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Regions slam WRU Warburton contract when future still unclear

Sam Warburton signed a WRU national contract last week Credit: PA Images

Regional Rugby Wales has released a statement on behalf of the four Welsh regions criticising the WRU after Sam Warburton signed a national contract with them.

The central contract means Sam will continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but he'll be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the region.

The WRU described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.

In a statement, RRW said:

"Firstly, it is important for the Welsh Regions to stress that they have the utmost respect for Sam Warburton as a player, a leader, a young man of great integrity and as an important role model for every young rugby player inside and outside Wales.

"At the same time, the Regions respect and support the right of Sam or any individual to make their own decision for their future based on their understanding of the choices available to them at any one time.

"The introduction of one individual national contract at this particular time, however, leaves the Regions bemused and they would question the strategy behind the bizarre action by the WRU given that a final agreement on the future of Welsh Rugby has yet to be reached.

"The Regions would ask what kind of message this sends out about Welsh Rugby to our colleagues in the game across the world.

"The Regions would also question how one national contract works as a constructive and sustainable strategy for the whole of Welsh rugby given that we have some 200 professional players in Wales contracted to the Regions.

"The Regions are concerned about the impact of this action, the confusion it creates within Welsh Rugby at this time and how it may unsettle the balance of strong and close-knit team environments at the Regions."

Read the full statement here.

Six Nations starting line-up for Italy announced

The Welsh Rugby Union has announced the starting line-up for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy - with Sam Warburton on the bench.

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BCKS: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips #WALvITA

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FWDS: Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones (C), Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau #WALvITA

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Replacements: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Rhodri Jones, Andrew Coombs, Sam Warburton, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Liam Williams #WALvITA

Warburton faces fitness test ahead of 6 Nations opener

Warburton could miss the opening match of the 6 Nations. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

Wales captain Sam Warburton faces a fitness test ahead of Saturday's 6 Nations opener against Italy.

Warburton has been struggling with a shoulder injury since the final autumn test game against Australia nearly two months ago.

It's expected that lock Alun Wyn-Jones, who recently signed a contract extension with the Ospreys, will take the captain's armband if Warburton is unable to play.

Warren Gatland names his team later.

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Warburton's Agent: 'no cast iron guarantees that Sam will be able to play for Cardiff Blues next season'

Wales Captain Sam Warburton's agent has said that because of the current fallout between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions, "there are no cast iron guarantees that Sam will be able to play for Cardiff Blues next season."

Derwyn Jones says Warburton intends to play for the Blues next season should all the issues be resolved.

The warning comes after Warburton signed a WRU National Contract yesterday.

The WRU have said that Warburton will be released for Cardiff Blues games outside his Wales duties.

Warburton 'delighted' to commit future to Welsh rugby

Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton has described his delight after securing his future in the domestic game in Wales. He's signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract, which means he will continue to play for the Cardiff Blues outside his Wales duties.

Under the arrangement his salary will be paid b the WRU and he should be released free of charge for Blues games. Warburton is the first senior player to sign such a contract:

I am delighted to commit my future to Welsh rugby. I would like to thank the WRU for its commitment to me."

– Sam Warburton, Wales captain

The announcement comes just days after Warburton's teammate Leigh Halfpenny left the Blues in favour of joining Toulon.

Sam Warburton signs WRU National Contract

Sam Warburton signs contract
Sam Warburton signs contract Credit: WRU

Wales captain Sam Warburton has signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract. The plan is for him to continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but that he will be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the Region.

The WRU have described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.

More to follow.

Warburton says he'll be fit to fight for third title

England Captain Chris Robshaw and Wales' Captain Sam Warbuton peer from behind a curtain during the RBS 6 Nations launch. Credit: PA

Wales captain Sam Warburton expects to be available for the RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy at the Millennium Stadium on February 1st.

Warburton has been out since the end of November with shoulder nerve damage but the British and Irish Lions skipper says he is winning his fitness battle.

However, his lack of game time while recovering from the injury means he may play a match for Cardiff Blues before taking part in Wales' Six Nations campaign.

"I think I'll be available for selection," Warburton said

"I need to have a chat with (head coach) 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."

Defending champions Wales are seeking their third successive Six Nations title.

The captains at the RBS 6 Nations launch at The Hurlingham Club, London. Credit: PA

"We always look forward to the Six Nations, it's what you're measured on. It's the one we always look forward to," Warburton said.

"This is my fifth Championship now and I love playing in them. We have a chance for three in a row and to create history."

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