Wales to bounce back, insists Sam Warburton

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CAPTAIN Sam Warburton believes Wales’ loss of a winning formula is “easily recoverable” as they prepare to defend the RBS Six Nations title.

Wales have not beaten another Test-playing country since defeating France in last season’s tournament finale to land the Six Nations crown in Grand Slam fashion.

A run of seven successive defeats included four losses against Australia by a combined total of 13 points, while coach Warren Gatland will also not be at the Six Nations helm prior to leading the British and Irish Lions tour Down Under later this year.

Rob Howley has been handed interim charge for the Six Nations campaign, and he has had to contend with a lengthy injury list that features absentees like Rhys Priestland, Alun-Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Luke Charteris and Bradley Davies. Warburton, though, is ready to roll up his sleeves and spearhead another major Six Nations title assault, starting against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday week.

“You don’t become a bad side overnight, just like you don’t become a good one,” Warburton said in London yesterday. “It wasn’t long ago we had some really good performances and really good wins. People are talking about Welsh rugby as if it has completely gone down to the pan.

“It is easily recoverable. We might have had seven losses in a row, but some of those have been really tight matches. Players appreciate it is the fine line of international rugby.

“I don’t like losing. Players will remember the feeling they had in the changing room after the autumn matches, and they won’t want to feel that again.”