RaboDirect PRO12
Warburton 'five weeks' ahead of schedule
ESPN Staff
September 25, 2013
Sam Warburton led the Lions to a series win in the summer © Getty Images

Cardiff Blues coach Phil Davies says British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is five weeks ahead of schedule as he prepares to face Leinster on Friday night.

Warburton was set for four months on the sidelines after he picked up a hamstring injury during the second Test against Australia in the summer. The Lions skipper was forced to sit out the series-clinching third Test against the Wallabies and was pencilled in for a return late in October.

But Warburton has confounded the prognosis and is back in the Blues mix to face Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday. The news of Warburton's return will be a timely boost for the Blues who are still reeling from losing to Zebre last Friday.

"He was knocking the door down to play which is fantastic," Blues coach Davies told Wales Online. "He wanted to play. He has done a phenomenal job and the physios and medical department need huge congratulations. I think he's maybe five weeks ahead of schedule. That's down to his diligence and also the work of the medical team.

"He trained a little bit last week and this and he looks fantastic, so I'm really excited. It's a phenomenal effort. He's diligent. He's one of the most professional players you'll ever wish to meet.

"It's down to him, it's down to the doctors, the physios. They've been working on him 12 hours a day. It's been fantastic. We've got an anti-gravity treadmill here and I know that's helped his cardiovascular fitness over the time he's been off. The whole effort has been brilliant."

Warren Gatland will be keeping a close eye on Warburton's progress with Wales kicking off their autumn Test programme against South Africa on November 9. He will also be hoping Gethin Jenkins is back fit after he missed the Lions series due to a calf injury.

And Davies is hopeful Jenkins will be back running out for the Blues sooner rather than later. Davies added: "Gethin trained last week and he was a bit sore at the end of the week.

"He came in on Monday and he was a little bit stiff, but he's worked through that, trained really well and I would be pretty confident he would be available for the Edinburgh game next week."

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