No time to dwell on absent Warburton

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 12:36
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REACTION: Jonathan Davies insists Wales cannot let captain Sam Warburton's absence affect their Australia mission in the opening game of the International Series.

The captain has been released back to Cardiff Blues to get game-time under his belt after suffering a neck injury,  ruling him out of Saturday's game against the Wallabies. Warburton has not played since suffering a fractured cheekbone against Leinster a month ago.

Warburton is now set to feature for the Blues in the Pro12 at Benetton Treviso on Friday and a decision on who will captain Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday will be made later in the week.

Wales hope to have Warburton back for the other remaining games of the series against Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

But Justin Tipuric is expected to replace the Wales skipper in the back row to face Australia and defence coach Shaun Edwards praised the 43-cap flank for his current form with the Ospreys.

"Sam [Warburton] is our captain and our leader, but we won't dwell on it and we'll try and prepare for it as well as we can without him," said Wales centre Davies.

"It is what it is, he hasn't had much game time but we're very fortunate to have someone like Justin Tipuric who's been playing really well for his region,"

"I think there's a group of senior players in the squad with many leaders and captain candidates. We're fortunate to have a lot of experience in our team," said Davies.

While Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has praised Justin Tipuric as the captain's replacement.

"I'm a big fan of Justin Tipuric - his form in attack and defence has been superb and he's got a 100 per cent tackle completion rate," said Edwards.

"The defensive system that we employ is very reliant on having speed and getting off the line quickly. Justin Tipuric is certainly very fast off the mark and it really helps our line speed when he plays,"