Warburton worry

Sam Warburton has revealed he is "touch and go" for the potential Grand Slam decider with France on March 17 [more]

Warburton worry

Sam Warburton has revealed he is "touch and go" for the potential Grand Slam decider with France on March 17

The Wales captain has already been ruled out of Saturday's clash with Italy after picking up a knee injury during the Triple Crown triumph over England at Twickenham.

Wales are overwhelming favourites to beat the Azzurri tomorrow, to keep Welsh hopes of a third Grand Slam in eight years alive.

But Warburton, who missed the victory over Scotland with a dead leg, is facing a race against time to return to fitness ahead of the clash with Les Bleus.

"Can I make the France match next weekend? It will be touch and go. But I'll be leaving nothing to chance," Warburton told the Daily Telegraph.

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"I've got to be a little bit selfish. I've got to stay off my leg as much as possible.

"I am certainly not being rested for Saturday, as some have suggested.

"I went to our physios, Prav Mathema and Mark Davies, at the start of the week and asked them: if this was the last game of the championship this week and everything was riding on it… would I be playing? The response was a straightforward no.

"But I can see why people think that [I'm being rested]. I can walk without pain or a limp, and there are a lot of the gym exercises that I can do. But I cannot do anything that involves explosive movement or a change of direction.

"I saw our knee surgeon, Rhys Williams, immediately after the game and he confirmed that it was a grade one medial collateral ligament sprain, as opposed to the grade two injury I'd suffered in France.

"I asked what the timescale for recovery was, and was just told that it depended on how my rehabilitation went."

Highly-rated 22-year-old Justin Tipuric will start at openside flanker in Warburton's absence and two-tour Lion Gethin Jenkins will take over the captaincy.

Warburton is already seen as a shoo-in for Lions selection and has been tipped by several plaudits to lead the tourists in Australia next year.
 

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