| 9.7°C Dublin

Tipuric ready to plug Warburton gap

JUSTIN Tipuric has declared himself ready to tackle one of the toughest jobs he could imagine next Saturday - filling Sam Warburton's boots in a Grand Slam game.

The 22-year-old Ospreys flanker proved his quality with a fine showing in Wales' 24-3 victory over Italy that set up next weekend's Six Nations title and Grand Slam tilt.

The Wales squad were set to reassemble at their rural training base today, with Warburton's fitness topping the agenda.

Warburton has played just one-and-a-half games in this season's Six Nations, suffering a thigh injury against opening opponents Ireland that forced him off at half-time, and then missing Saturday's victory over Italy due to a knee problem.


The Wales camp say current medical opinion is that Warburton will be fit to tackle France, although it could conceivably be much later in the week before Tipuric knows for sure.

"I am ready," Tipuric said.

"I have just got to keep working on my game and enjoy my rugby with the Ospreys. I've got to be patient."

Wales wing George North, meanwhile, is confident Wales can sidestep the hype surrounding them.

"We can't really deny the fact we have a Grand Slam game coming up," 19-year-old Scarlets star North said.

"It is something we can think about now, but it is just another Test match, really.

"I am sure there are plenty of people who will hype up the game left, right and centre, but we want to let our rugby do the talking."