Wales British Lions captain Sam Warburton world changed but rugby cannot afford to lose him completely


Sam Warburton’s career was far too short but as he draws a line under a bruising nine-year spell, his legacy in the game rivals any in the northern hemisphere and in the British & Irish Lions’ fine history.

Aged 29, it seems unfathomable that Warburton will not be leading Wales into the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but his is a career blighted by the misfortune of injury, robbing him of further accolades and years on the pitch.

There are few in the game with a brain and perspective of Warburton. He thinks beyond his years; even back in 2011 when he captained Wales, he spoke as a seasoned veteran. This calm, assured leadership saw him chief the Lions on the 2013 and 2017 tours, while memories with Wales will be anchored around two Six Nations titles and a further Grand Slam. But that does not dilute the shock or sadness of Wednesday’s announcement.

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