Sam Warburton Was Absolutely Delighted When Maro Itoje Broke His Jaw

“It is wrong.”

Lions captain Sam Warburton says he was delighted when he discovered Maro Itoje broke his jaw earlier this season. Warburton says the young English lock was in need of a well overdue rest.

The Welsh back-row says it might “sound terrible” but elite players only seem to get a rest these days when they get injured. Warburton says it is fundamentally “wrong” but it’s a fact.

Speaking to The Times in an exclusive interview, the former Wales and two-time Lions captain revealed he has serious concerns about plans to extend the season as part of a new global calendar from 2019-20.

“Anyone saying we should increase the season has not played professional rugby,” he said.

“I love rugby, I wouldn’t want to play any other sport, but you just can’t add more games.

“The seasons can’t get longer. If you play more than 25 games a year you put yourself at more risk of being injured. That’s why the dual contracts in Wales are so good. I hear of some players in England playing more than 35 games and I think . . .

“When Maro [Itoje] broke his jaw earlier this season the first thing I thought was, ‘Brilliant. That is exactly what he needs. He needs a break.’ It sounds terrible but the only time you get a break these days is when you get injured. It is wrong.”

You can read Warburton’s interview in full here.

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