Sunday 25 February 2018

Video: 'I deserved red' -- Warburton

Wales' World Cup captain Sam Warburton admits that the tackle that saw him sent off in their semi-final loss to France was "uglier" than he had thought, and that referee Alain Rolland was correct to show him a red card.

The 23-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker led Warren Gatland's side with aplomb in New Zealand but saw red just 17 minutes into their last-four clash after a tip tackle on France wing Vincent Clerc.

Irish official Rolland came in for criticism for his decision after Wales went on to suffer a 9-8 defeat at Eden Park, but the International Rugby Board backed their man for following a directive that any tackle where a player is lifted and not returned to ground safely should result in a dismissal.

And Warburton, currently serving a three-week ban for that tackle, said: "I have seen it played back, the tackle is a lot uglier than I thought it was at the time. When I looked at it on the replays it looked worse than I thought it was.

"The IRB said if you lift up a player and drop him it's a red card, and that's exactly what I did. I can't complain."

Warburton led Wales' bid to lift the trophy in the absence of regular captain Matthew Rees, who missed the tournament with a neck problem. But the Scarlets hooker has recently returned to action and has stated his desire to take back the captaincy.

Warburton admits he'd be keen to hold on to the role, but he will go with whatever decision head coach Gatland makes ahead of next month's meeting with Australia in Cardiff.

"Matthew did a great job during the Six Nations so I'd understand if they want to give it back to him," he said.

Irish Independent

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