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Sir Gareth backs captain Sam ahead of Lions decider

7th July 2017

Gareth Edwards has led the well-wishes to Sam Warburton and his pride of British & Irish Lions ahead of their Test series decider against New Zealand on Saturday (8.30am kick-off).

The legendary Cardiff and Wales scrum-half was of course part of the last Lions squad to clinch a series in the Land of the Long White Cloud back in 1971.
Forty-six years later, Cardiff Blues ace Warburton will captain the famous tourists as they aim to replicate the feat at Eden Park.
Warburton, who went into the tour on the back of an injury and picked up another strain in New Zealand, was restricted to a place on the bench in the opening Test defeat.
But he returned to the starting line-up on Saturday, and produced an industrious performance, in which he was a constant menace at the breakdown, as the Lions recorded a historic 24-21 win in Wellington.
Edwards has been hugely impressed, but not surprised, by the way Warburton has led the Lions both on and off the pitch and he is hopeful the 28-year-old can help them to a historic series win.
The Cardiff Blues board member said: “We are all very proud of Sam, and his achievements, and cannot speak highly enough of him both as a player and ambassador for rugby in Cardiff.
“We have a very proud and long history of producing Lions at Cardiff – from Cardiff RFC’s Gwyn Nicholls in 1899 to Sam Warburton today.
“Given his previous achievements, he has absolutely nothing to prove yet he comes up trumps on every occasion.

“The second Test was a very hard-fought and well deserved win and we now have something to look forward to on Saturday.
“In that game Sam showed his quality as a player and a captain. He has been outstanding.
“The Lions never looked like panicking and they got the job done. There was a lot of pressure on them to get the win knowing they had that advantage of an extra man and they managed it.
“It required cool head and Sam provided that – the Lions did not rush things, they stuck to their structures, continued to play and got the result.”
On 58 occasions Cardiff RFC or Cardiff Blues have provided a Lion and Warburton is just the second player to captain the tourists on two separate tours.
If successful on Saturday, the 2017 Lions squad will go down as one of the greatest in history and Edwards believes they have every chance.

Edwards said: “It’s a difficult one to predict because there has been so little in the previous games.

“Despite having the numerical advantage in the second Test, the way the Lions stuck to their game and got the win and the positive way they played, has given them momentum and belief.

“I also believe they have the personnel to ask even more questions of the All Blacks, who for the first time for a long, long time will be going into this game with a little bit of doubt.

“Sam has been in this kind of position many times with many different sides and Warren Gatland is vastly experienced and successful. The squad will be well prepared and ready.

“It’s all about the will and desire of the people on the pitch. The Lions have one huge chance and now they have to take it.”

Watch the British & Irish Lions third Test decider against the All Blacks LIVE at the home of Sam Warburton.

Cardiff Arms Park will be throwing open the Gwyn Nicholls gates and the game will be screened live in the Gareth Edwards lounge from 8.00am. Breakfasts will be available to purchase and the clubhouse bars open for the colossal encounter.

To express your interest please sign up here.