Warburton declares himself fully fit for Lions tour


Sam Warburton insists he is fully fit to captain the British and Irish Lions on the tour of New Zealand.

The former Wales skipper has been out of action since damaging his knee in Cardiff Blues' Pro12 clash with Ulster early last month.

Warburton has allayed concerns about his fitness, revealing that he came through a training session with the Lions on Monday and is ready to step up his preparations for the challenge of facing the All Blacks.

"I am fully fit, which is good," the flanker said.

"Last week in the camp in Wales I was pretty much doing everything apart from just the last little bit of contact stuff.

"But today [Monday] I trained fully. I did full contact, and I was absolutely fine. That is all the boxes ticked, and now I can crack on."

Warburton's recovery is a huge relief to the Lions a day after England number eight Billy Vunipola ruled himself out of the squad due to a shoulder injury, with James Haskell replacing him.

Vunipola was expected to play a key role against the world champions and Warburton expressed his disappointment at losing the 24-year-old, but thinks Haskell can play a big role for Warren Gatland's men.

"Billy was one of the guys I was really looking forward to playing with," said Warburton.

"He has been a massive player for Saracens. It is a big loss for us, but James coming in - I think only Rory Best and Alun Wyn Jones have got more caps than him - means we are very lucky.

"He is a player who I think will have a massive impact on this tour."