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Jones backs Warburton to return

18th February 2013 13:11


Ryan Jones in Wales training ahead of second Test

Ryan Jones: Expects Sam Warburton to silence his critics

Wales back-rower, and stand-in skipper, Ryan Jones is backing Sam Warburton to be back to his best and to lead his country again.

After captaining his country to the semi-finals at the 2011 World Cup, and a Grand Slam triumph in 2008, Warburton suffered a dip in form which coincided with Wales' wretched run of eight straight defeats.

His omission from caretaker coach Rob Howley's side to face Italy in Rome next Saturday has been Welsh rugby's main talking point but Jones expects the 24-year-old flanker to silence his critics soon.

"Sam is still squad captain and he is a kid with a great future and it amazes me the reaction people have had," Jones told Walesonline

"It's not just Sam, some of the guys in the squad have seen their careers sky-rocket and they have not experienced the other end of the spectrum.

"Rugby careers don't go like that, the players we remember are the ones who have had that longevity and have weathered these storms, and the way to do that is not going to extremes.

"You can't torture yourself mentally and physically."

Jones was in a similar situation to Warburton's when, after captaining Wales to a Grand Slam win in 2008, he was favoured to be named skipper of the British and Irish Lions team that toured South Africa in 2009.

But his form slumped to the extent that he failed to make the original Lions squad.

He said, however, that he does not believe Warburton is feeling the weight of being the favourite to lead the Lions when they tour Australia later this year.

"In 2009, maybe the talk of the Lions captaincy did have an effect on me, but all players know the captaincy will take care of itself," explained Jones.

"It will depend on who is going, the make-up of the team. It is not something you can control.

"It's not like a job you apply for, it's an added bonus for the person who gets it, that's what I would tell Sam."

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