Warburton hopeful Lions success brings change of fortunes for Wales

Sam Warburton is hopeful this summer's British & Irish Lions success can help Wales put their southern hemisphere hoodoo well and truly behind them. [more]

Warburton hopeful Lions success brings change of fortunes for Wales

Sam Warburton is hopeful this summer’s British & Irish Lions success can help Wales put their southern hemisphere hoodoo well and truly behind them.

While Warburton might be busy preparing for Cardiff Blues to stamp their mark on this season’s Heineken Cup, he can’t help but look further ahead to Wales’ autumn internationals.

South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia all visit the Millennium Stadium next month with Wales looking to end their poor run against southern hemisphere sides.

Last year saw Wales lose all four of their autumn Tests but since a whole host of Welsh players have gone on to become victorious British & Irish Lions – with ten starting the final clash with Australia to help record a first series victory in 16 years.

And while Warburton himself sat out that final Test through injury, the flanker is adamant the experience will propel Wales to new heights before the year is out.

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"The Lions will have a positive effect on those who were involved,” he said. “When Kurtley Beale missed that chance to win the first Test for Australia, I remembered saying beforehand that one day a close game would go in our favour.

“I want that to happen in a Wales jersey. Every year there is optimistic talk we can get a major southern hemisphere scalp and I hope we make it come true this year.

"Maybe the Lions will give us the edge we need: we have always been close to the Sanzar countries.

“I believe we can win every game: we are competitive against any team in the world and we have good memories of our last performance at the Millennium Stadium and we want to repeat the mentality we had that day against England.

“It does not come with the click of a finger: it is something Warren [Gatland] and the coaches have instilled from the moment they became involved with us.

"While it will not happen every week, as much as you want it to, it was great to see the guys still pressing England when we had a big lead and that is the attitude you want: it is what the All Blacks display – never take your foot off the pedal.

“It is the best way to approach matches and if we get in that position again, I hope we do the same. We have a lot of experience in the side and a backline that is young and settled with good players coming through." 

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