Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sam Warburton: Wales have 'fantastic' World Cup chance

Wales are strong enough to bounce back from the loss of Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb and still challenge for the World Cup, says captain Sam Warburton.
Full-back Halfpenny and scrum-half Webb, both 26, are out of the tournament with injury, replaced by Eli Walker and Mike Phillips respectively.
Warburton says their absences are a blow, but not a fatal one.
"We've still got an absolutely fantastic chance to win the World Cup," said the 26-year-old.
He added: "If we want to be a side that wins the World Cup, it's got to be more than a 15 man team, it's a squad effort.
"So it's not a life or death situation."
Warburton says having prop Samson Lee and back-three player Liam Williams back fit can help counter the blows of losing Toulon's Halfpenny and Ospreys' Webb.
"It won't be difficult to get morale back up," said the Cardiff Blues player.
"There's no time to waste now, you can't dwell on these things especially with the positive injury news that Samson Lee and Liam Williams will both be coming back to full fitness in time for the World Cup, that will definitely lift the squad as well."
Warburton, who missed the final Test of the 2013 British and Irish Lions series with a shoulder injury, said he felt for Webb and Halfpenny.
"Rhys hasn't been to a World Cup, he'll have to wait another four years for that opportunity so it's the timing of it which is the most difficult thing," he added.
"I don't think any player can go through a 10-year career now without having to go under the knife, that's just the way rugby is nowadays, but it's the timing before the World Cup that's what makes it very cruel."

Players can fill big boots

The loss of main goal kicker Halfpenny is considered a major blow for Wales, but the captain believes they have a good back-up in the shape of fly-half Dan Biggar.
"Leigh will be a massive loss for any side in world rugby," he said.
"But to have Dan Bigger, who's been having high percentages for the Ospreys in the last seven or eight years, is a great replacement.
"And from a scrum-half point of view to have Mike Phillips coming in - a British Lion with 80 or 90 caps, in his third World Cup and a very popular guy around the squad - you probably couldn't have a better replacement."

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