As Sam Warburton’s reign as Wales captain looks set to come to an end, Ged from The Attacking Scrum podcast looks back on Warbs’ Top 5 moments as a skipper.
1. England 25 v 28 Wales – RWC 2015
Wales were destroyed in the scrum, struggling to win a lineout and an backline with so many injuries that half-backs were playing on the wing. Yet somehow they came out on top. Warburton’s leadership that day undoubtedly got them over the line, a refusal to admit defeat despite the chaos around him.
2. Australia 16 v 15 British & Irish Lions – 2nd Test 2013
Warburton’s time in charge hasn’t been short of agonising defeats to Australia and this was no exception. Despite ending up on the losing side, the skipper was everywhere, putting his body on the line so often it was no surprise he ended up injured. You got the feeling that if someone tried a grenade on the field, Sam would’ve smothered it and still won a penalty.
3. Rugby World Cup 2011
Wales’ RWC campaign may be remembered for Allain Rolland’s red card to Warburton in semi-final but the skipper embodied a new Wales. Arguably the most professional and physically fit side that had ever left these shores, Wales came within a whisker of a World Cup final and Warburton epitomised the side that won over many neutrals.
4. Wales 23 v 16 Ireland
Six Nations 2015 – The day Warburton took Ryan Jones’ record of most games as Wales captain. Luke Charteris put in a herculean shift in defence but his skipper was right there with him, getting through a bucketload of work to pick up the man of the match award.
5. England 12 v 19 Wales – Six Nations 2012
Scott Williams took the headlines with a cheeky try that will live long in the memory. Arguably though, the game hinged on a moment in the first half when Warburton threw himself at Manu Tuilagi’s feet to deny the England centre a try. His performance didn’t fade after that and he went on to pick up another MOM award.
Hear more about what the guys think about the Welsh captaincy debate by listening here.