War­bur­ton may take long break af­ter neck surgery

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Ben Coles

Wales flanker Sam War­bur­ton has hinted that he could take an ex­tended spell out of the sport as he con­tin­ues his re­cov­ery from neck surgery.

War­bur­ton has not played this sea­son for Cardiff Blues or Wales, hav­ing last ap­peared in the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons’ drawn se­ries with New Zealand. The 29-year-old was ex­pected to re­turn in Jan­uary but has ad­mit­ted that he may take his time over his come­back to en­sure his body is in the best pos­si­ble con­di­tion to con­tinue his ca­reer af­ter a string of in­juries.

“There’s no pres­sure on me to re­turn,” War­bur­ton told the Daily Mir­ror. “The pri­or­ity is mak­ing sure I get my body back to full health to play. The re­hab is go­ing smoothly so far, so all good. I’ve had no hic­cups so far. It was quite a straight­for­ward op­er­a­tion. Peo­ple hear the words ‘neck op­er­a­tion’ and they wave the red flag.

“This is an in­jury I’ve been bat­tling for three to four years. Once it’s sorted, hope­fully it will re­duce the num­ber of shoul­der stingers and nerve prob­lems I’m get­ting and I can play more fre­quently.”

Mean­while, Wales and Li­ons vet­eran Jamie Roberts is back in the Wales squad.

Roberts, who has 96 Test caps, and prop Scott An­drews have been called into War­ren Gat­land’s squad as in­jury cover and ar­rived in camp yes­ter­day morn­ing, as the squad re­con­vened ahead of the game against Ge­or­gia on Sat­ur­day.

The 31-year-old Roberts was left out of the ini­tial Wales squad as part of a tac­ti­cal shift by Gat­land and as­sis­tant coach Rob How­ley to­wards us­ing two play­mak­ers, which meant that Glouces­ter’s Owen Wil­liams was se­lected at in­side cen­tre in the de­feat by Aus­tralia in Cardiff last week­end.

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