Deposed skipper Warburton remains key for Wales - Williams

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Sam Warburton will continue to "play a very important part for Wales" despite being replaced as international captain by Alun Wyn Jones, says Cardiff Blues team-mate Lloyd Williams.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Warburton had agreed to relinquish the captaincy in order to focus on his own game, as competition mounts for his spot at openside flanker.

Having played with Warburton for over six years at club level, Williams has a pretty good grip on the now-ex skipper and says he will remin as committed as ever with Jones taking the lead on the field.

"I've played with Sam for both country and club and he leads by example, so whatever Sam decides, it's up to him," Williams told Omnisport ahead of the Six Nations' squad confirmation that revealed head coach Rob Howley's decision to strip Warburton.

"But whether he's captain, great, if not he's still going to play a very important part for Wales in the Six Nations and in the future because he's a top player and a good guy to have around.

"He's only a couple of years older than me so I've grown up playing alongside him. 

"He always leads by example. He's shown in the past how successful a captain he's been with the Lions and Wales, so it's huge and a lot of the boys have played under him and are happy to do so.

"Whatever he decides, he's still going to play a massive part for Wales."

Another Cardiff Blue, Gareth Anscombe, also backed Warburton to deliver performances that would guarantee his spot.

"Whatever he does he usually does what's best for the team and he's a top man, Sam," Anscombe told Omnisport.

"He can look back over his career, he's led Wales very well over the last six or so years. He's turned the team from a tough period into a very successful one, so he can be proud of that.

"I'm sure whatever he decides to do, he'll still want to be a part of playing for Wales, there's a lot of competition for places in that openside position."

 

*** Lloyd Williams and Gareth Anscombe were speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Principal Partner of Cardiff Blues, and taking part in a day of off-road driving challenges against players from English side Wasps. Land Rover supports both clubs and invited players to see which club could earn bragging rights as the Ultimate Off Road Driving Team.