Welsh Rugby
Warburton to decide on future 'at end of year'
ESPN Staff
September 15, 2013
Lions captain Sam Warburton powers towards the line, Reds v British & Irish Lions, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, June 8, 2013
Wales and Lions flanker Sam Warburton is out of contract with Cardiff Blues at the end of this season © PA Photos

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has revealed he intends to have decided on his playing future by the end of this year.

The 24-year-old, a key figure in the Lions historic series victory over Australia this summer and Wales' recent Six Nations success, is out of contract with the Cardiff Blues at the end of this season and the flanker is thought to be the subject of interest from England and France.

Warburton, who is not the only big name out of contract at the Arms Park with fellow Lions and Wales international Leigh Halfpenny another looking for a new deal, has hinted he may be prepared to buck the trend of leading players turning their back on the Welsh game with the likes of Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate just the latest to opt for moves to France.

The Blues are hopeful of retaining his services - with financial help from the Welsh Rugby Union - but it appears they will have to wait to find out Warburton's final answer.

"I'm going to wait until the end of the year, by Christmas time, until I make a decision on that," he told the Western Mail. "I'm still in the same situation there. Not much has happened. All my focus and attention has been on returning from my hamstring, which the Blues understand.

"They have got to figure out all kinds of things, like what their squad is going to be next year. It's over my head to be honest. But when I get back playing and have a good couple of months under my belt, then I can make a decision about next season."

Regarding his battle for fitness in time for Wales' opening end of year clash against South Africa on November 9, he said: "I'm not too far away," he said. "It's going well so far. There are certain stages of rehab you have to go through.

"I've still got a few more boxes to tick with the physios and then they can hand me over to the coaches and I can crack on. I hope to return to some rugby training in the next few weeks and then return to playing in October time.

"I haven't put a date down yet because I've got to do some top-speed running before that happens. Once I tick that box, I will sit down with Phil (Blues boss Phil Davies) and the physios to figure out a return-to-play fixture. But it will be in October certainly."

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