Sam Warburton in action for Cardiff Blues

CARDIFF BLUES can confirm that backrow forward Sam Warburton has signed a new contract extension with the region. Cardiff-born Warburton became a member of the Blues Academy in 2006-07 and was part of the Blues U20 squad that blazed a trail through the U20 Reebok Regional Championships to win the title.

Versatile enough to play anywhere in the backrow Warburton made his regional debut for the Cardiff Blues away to Edinburgh in 2009 and has gone on to make 36 appearances for the region. Speaking at the Cardiff City Stadium, Sam said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be staying here. I’m a Cardiff boy, born and bred, and to be offered and sign a new deal is fantastic. I’m only 22years old and feel there’s a lot more to achieve.”

“I’ve only been with the seniors for three seasons and with all the young players such as Bradley Davies, Leigh Halfpenny and Tom James, we’ve got a very bright future. I’ve come through with the same bunch of boys in the Academy and we’ve all progressed together so it’s been quite a smooth transition. What is exciting is I’ve known some of these boys for six years already through rugby circles and there’s about ten or twelve of us who have come through within a few years of each other, which shows the systems are working. About six or seven of us have been capped already.”

Some strong displays for the Blues in his debut season saw Warburton earn a place on the Welsh summer tour of North America in 2009. Speaking of gaining his Welsh caps Warburton added, “To be honest when I was in the Blues Academy aged 16 or 17 years old I always wanted to break through into the Blues but never knew when that would be. With Martyn at the club I always knew it was going to be tough.”

“On the international front my call up came a lot sooner than I expected and the caps have notched up pretty quickly.” Selected as part of Warren Gatland’s 2011 Six Nations squad, Warburton won his 11th cap in the win over Scotland. However, his focus is still on winning trophies with his region, “I think the play off places is a minimum for us in the Magners League. We want the title and follow up on the silverware we won in the last two years.”

“If we didn’t reach the play offs it would be a very disappointing season but everyone is focused on finishing the season strongly.”