Saturday, November 27, 2010

Warburton's mission: Stop McCaw,25883,3551_6530101,00.html
27th November 2010

Wales flanker Sam Warburton knows he must play a key role in attempting one of world rugby's toughest tasks - nullifying New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks, led by their imperious skipper, will complete another successful Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland if they beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Given that Wales last toppled New Zealand in 1953, it is little surprise they have been installed as outsiders by the bookmakers.
New Zealand possess match-winners throughout their team, with flanker McCaw's unparalleled work at the critical breakdown area a major factor behind their success.

"You hear a lot of people say that if you stop McCaw you can stop New Zealand, so that could be the case on Saturday," said Warburton, who has recovered from a calf muscle injury to reclaim his place in the Wales line-up.
"If the team can stop him playing to his best it will take us one step closer to beating the All Blacks.
"When I was younger, I would always watch players like Martyn (Williams), George Smith and McCaw. They are players I've looked up to.
"He (McCaw) is one of the world's great players, without doubt. He is very experienced, knows what to do and knows how to play the referee. That is the great skill he has."

Wales arrive at their November series finale without a win since March.
They are on the back of five defeats and last week's shambolic draw against Fiji, while their last victory over Tri Nations opposition came at Australia's expense two years ago.

"Obviously, everyone was gutted after last week. There is no other way of describing how the players were feeling," added Warburton.
"We've got to pick ourselves up, and hopefully put in a good performance on Saturday.
"The last couple of times we've played New Zealand we've started really well. So if we can start well this time and just hold on to that, then it's anyone's game.
"We've found that there has been a 10 or 15-minute spell in the second half of games where maybe concentration has slipped.
"We've said we really need to focus on that 50-60 minute mark and make sure we don't give away a couple of silly tries which can turn the game.
"If we take the lead, we've got to be more sensible with our game plan."

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