Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Warburton's All Black warning for Wales

Sam Warburton. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Sam Warburton. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Captain Sam Warburton has an emphatic message for his Welsh squad ahead of their June visit to play the All Blacks.

No one, he warns, should be fooled by the hosts' loss of senior players for the three test series.

The All Blacks may have shed the enormous experience of Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Ben Franks but they had an extensive replacement pool.

"People say they have lost X amount of players, but while they might lose experience they will never lose talent," Warburton told Wales Online.

"The difference with New Zealand to any other country is the strength in depth and quality of player they have got.

"That's not trying to take pressure off ourselves, but I've just seen it many times when we've played them. They've had one or two guys missing and suddenly someone steps up from nowhere and they are an unbelievable player."

The All Blacks reservoir of talent meant Wales' ambitions about breaking their extended losing streak to the All Blacks remained as tough as ever.

Warburton missed large chunks of rugby through and around the Six Nations so is feeling primed for the tail-end of his domestic rugby before he hopes to be on the tour to New Zealand.

"My body doesn't feel like it's April because I had that two-month lay-off," he said.

"I haven't played the rugby that a lot of guys have played coming into this stage of the season, so my body feels fine. The thought of going on the summer tour, if selected, doesn't daunt me at all.

"People say it's three tests against New Zealand, but that's three opportunities to get a win against someone that Wales haven't beaten for more than 60 years.

"It's not been on any Welsh player's CV for a long, long time, so it's an amazing opportunity more than anything. You know you can go out there and give it everything because after that you've got the best of four or five weeks off to do absolutely nothing."

Warburton said there would be no excuses. Some players would be missing because of injury but that was the same on every rugby tour.

This was a three test trip Wales had to front for and he was sure those picked would be amped about that opportunity.

Warburton felt he had chased some form in the Six Nations. It didn't quite happen for him.

"They were ok games. I didn't play poorly, but I didn't set the world alight and I didn't make the influence I wanted to," he said.

Two months from now Warburton wants that to change.

- NZ Herald

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