British & Irish Lions
Warburton the Lions' best bet
Thu, 27 Dec 2012 07:33
Sam at his best would be a fine leader
If you are looking for acclamation, they don't get much better than when they come from Welsh legend Gareth Edwards.
And that is exactly who punted Sam Warburton as captain of the British and Irish Lions to Australia next year.
Edwards, the legendary former Welsh scrumhalf described arguably the greatest player ever to don a Welsh jersey, was a member of the victorious Lions tours to New Zealand (1971) and South Africa (when they went unbeaten in 1974).
While Warburton has been striving to recapture the form he displayed in leading Wales to the World Cup semifinal last year and the 2012 Six Nations Grand Slam, Edwards is convinced he could do the job Down Under.
"If Sam can get back to the form he showed at the World Cup and during the Grand Slam, he might carry the day," Edwards told WalesOnline.
"He [Warburton] has got something about him.
"There's no doubt Sam at his best would be a fine leader, but it's been a tough year-end for Wales, who I thought looked somewhat jaded."
The Welsh legend, Edwards, admitted there are other strong contenders for the Lions captaincy.
"We also mustn't discount the claims of Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Jamie Heaslip [all Ireland] and Chris Robshaw [England]," Edwards said.
"Much depends on the Six Nations and we know Warren Gatland picks on form – not on reputation."
Warburton has certainly given every indication that he is bouncing back from his slump in form, with his club boss - Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies - paying tribute to the Wales skipper after a hard fought 12-10 Pro12 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at a muddy Arms Park on Wednesday.
Warburton led the way in a gutsy defensive display from the hosts who triumphed 12-10 despite spending much of the match on the back foot.
"Sam was excellent. He was really good," said Davies.
"He's done well for me so far whenever he's played.
"I've got nothing but admiration for the guy.
"He's a fantastic player and this was one of his best performances so far.
"Defensively he was magnificent, not just with his tackling, but his decision-making of when to jackal and when to organise people in and around him. He had an excellent game."
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