Sam Warburton can’t wait to start his second game of his maiden British & Irish Lions Tour against the Waratahs in Sydney this Saturday.
The Lions’ captain missed the first three matches of the 125th anniversary adventure with a knee problem but played the full 80 minutes in last week’s win over the Reds in Brisbane.
And with a return to the capital of Queensland for the opening Test with the Qantas Wallabies now just nine days away, Warburton gets another chance to impress against Super XV opposition at the Allianz Stadium.
The 24-year-old Welshman packs down alongside Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip in the back row, with international colleague Dan Lydiate providing cover from the bench, and he admits that he’s desperate to pull on the famous red jersey once more.
“It’s always nice to have game time,” said Warburton, who started with Lydiate and Toby Faletau in his opening Lions outing.
“I always think the more games I have, then the better I tend to play.
“It’s about getting your timing around the breakdown, in attack and defence, and the more games you play – within reason, obviously – the more you pick up a feel for the contact area and speed of the game.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with Tom and Jamie. Lineout-wise, Crofty is awesome in training, and Jamie is great in attack and as a ball carrier. You want to come on Lions tours and play with different combinations.”
Head coach Warren Gatland has stated that selection for Saturday’s game is by no means a guarantee of inclusion for the first Test, and Warburton agrees.
“Players are always trying to impress, no matter what the game is,” added Warburton when asked if this is his chance to cement a Test place.
“No one is reading into anything because there is still a lot to prove, there are still a couple of games to go before the first Test.”