Wales must take major scalp – Sam Warburton
CAPTAIN Warburton says Wales must take the next step and claim a vital southern hemisphere scalp and enjoy a successful autumn series.
The openside flanker led the British and Irish Lions skipper to their first series win in 16 years when they defeated Australia 2-1 this summer.
The 24-year-old Warburton is on course to lead Wales this autumn at home against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and the Wallabies as he recovers from a hamstring tear sustained in June during the second Test.
The Lions’ series victory was inspired by a contingent dominated by Wales players and Warburton hopes that triumph will provide his countrymen with the self-belief to beat the best.
Wales face the Aussies in the last game of their autumn campaign and are on an eight-match losing streak against them, coming so close on at least three occasions to a much-needed win.
They have enjoyed great success in the northern hemisphere lately and are the most consistent side in the Six Nations after having won the Grand Slam in 2005, 2008 and 2012 as well as also winning the title last season.
But they have failed to build on those achievements against the southern hemisphere big three of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The last time Wales they beat one of the old Tri Nations teams was when they downed the Wallabies 21-18 in 2008.
“The next step for this Welsh team is to beat southern hemisphere sides and to have a good autumn,” Warburton said.
“We have four big, tough games. We kick off first with South Africa and are straight into the deep end and we will all be looking forward to that one.
“Argentina have improved a lot since being included in the Rugby Championship and we saw that last year when they beat us.
“At the end of the series we have Australia and everyone knows how close we have come in the last few years to beating them so that's going to be a great finish to the campaign.”
Warburton hopes the experience of tasting victory against them with the Lions, which included a 41-16 win in the third Test, will be a big motivating factor.
“We always thought we could beat Australia, but being involved with the Lions will hopefully help us get that monkey off our back,” he said.
“I’m sure the crowd will be looking forward to that match as much as the players and the Millennium Stadium will be amazing.”
Tickets to see Wales in the 2013 Dove Men Series against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia on consecutive weekends from November 9 are available at www.wru.co.uk/tickets, prices from £25 (£10 concessions).