British & Irish Lions 2013: Sam Warburton to face Queensland Reds
British & Irish Lions 2013: Sam Warburton says he is "dying" to make his Lions debut after recovering from a knee injury
Sam Warburton admits he is dying to make his British and Irish Lions debut after the captain was named in the starting line-up for Saturday’s clash against Queensland Reds.
The Wales international was forced to miss the Lions’ opening victories over Barbarians and Western Force as Warren Gatland looked to prevent his skipper from aggravating his knee injury.
And Warburton, 24, revealed he has found it difficult watching his team-mates come back from the opening two games with their Lions jerseys while he continued to regain full fitness.
“I wish the game was tomorrow really. I am just dying to get out on the pitch. It can’t come quick enough,” said Warburton.
“Seeing the boys bringing their Lions jerseys back to the hotel after games has been tough, knowing they have that jersey to take home with them.”
Gatland insisted Warburton is fully fit for the Reds match as the skipper looks to cement his openside flanker position following strong performances from Dan Tipuric and Sean O’Brien against the Baa Baas and Force.
“It was just precautionary with Sam,” said Gatland.
“He would have started the first game, but this is a big game for him now and a big game for the team.”
British and Irish Lions XV to face the Reds: Stuart Hogg; Alex Cuthbert, Manu Tuilagi, Jonathan Davies, Tommy Bowe; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Gethin Jenkins, Tom Youngs, Matt Stevens, Richie Gray, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Mako Vunipola, Adam Jones, Paul O’Connell, Justin Tipuric, Conor Murray, Jonathan Sexton, George North