Sam Warburton: ‘You watch Sky with everyone else to see if you’re in Lions squad’

The British & Irish Lions youngest-ever captain would love to do the job again when the home nations tour New Zealand in 2017

“I’ve got all sorts of ambitions,” Sam Warburton says on an autumnal morning in Cardiff as the turning of the leaves and a creeping chill in the air concentrates his mind. These can be beautiful days, full of different colours and moods, but the changing seasons are also strangely warming. The looming heat of battle, with the autumn internationals starting on Saturday as Wales play Australia, inspires Warburton – the clear favourite to lead the Lions in New Zealand next summer.

“Everyone sets goals and I’ve probably got five left I still want to achieve,” the 28-year-old Wales captain says. “I would love to win a league title with Cardiff Blues – the club I’ve always played for. I’d also love to win another Six Nations [after Wales and Warburton won a grand slam in 2012 and the 2013 championship] because I’ve realised how hard it is. In the last three years we’ve come so close but haven’t managed another title. The 100-cap milestone is the next goal. I’m on 67. That’s something I will always chase. And then I’d love to play in another World Cup and Lions tour. I’m not saying I’m going to achieve all those things but when I come into training, I have thought: ‘What are you really chasing?’ I’d love to do those five things before my career is over.”

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