Welcoming Sam Warburton to the Canterbury Ambassador Team… our new partnership with Sam will see the Wales and Lions legend support activity both ahead of the British & Irish Lions’ series against South Africa this summer and beyond.
Sam will use his expertise and legendary status to help us engage fans across the world and build up excitement ahead of the series. Warburton will also play a key role in the brand’s activity with its Lions Origin Clubs – celebrating those teams who helped produce Lions players both past and present.
A passionate supporter of the grass roots game, Sam shares Canterbury’s vision of breaking down barriers within the game to help make rugby as inclusive as possible. As such, he will form a crucial part of Canterbury’s Made From All campaign, which celebrates how players and fans of the four home nations come together to form the Lions and the strength derived from this unity.
Player career highlights
79 – Warburton won 79 caps combined for Wales and the British and Irish Lions in a career that spanned from 2009 to 2017.
49 – The flanker captained Wales on 49 occasions, more than any other player.
53 – In total, Warburton won 53 Test caps as captain, with his last such game coming as a 28-year-old. No other player has led a side out in 50+ Tests before turning 29 (Will Carling the next best on 44).
2 – Warburton became just the second player after Martin Johnson to lead the Lions on two tours, after he was named captain for the 2013 tour to Australia and the 2017 series in New Zealand. The Lions were unbeaten in both series (won 2-1 v Australia, tied 1-1 v NZ).
4 – Only Johnson and Ronnie Dawson (both six) have more Test caps as captain of the British and Irish Lions than Warburton (four, level with eight players).
22 – Warburton is the youngest player to captain any side in a Rugby World Cup match, which he achieved when, as a 22-year-old, he led Wales out against South Africa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
7 – He is the seventh youngest player to captain Wales in a Test match, the second youngest forward to do so, as well as the youngest in the professional era.
70 – Warburton played 70 times in the Pro14 for Cardiff Blues, scoring five tries, as well as 33 games in Europe, including a victory in the 2009-10 Challenge Cup final.
British & Irish Lions career
Sam Warburton joined a very exclusive club during the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, as he became only the second man to captain The British & Irish Lions twice.
He joined Lions legend Martin Johnson in accomplishing that feat, but went one better than the former England lock, and stands as the only Lions captain in history to have avoided defeat on two Tours.
In Australia in 2013, Warburton became only the fourth Welsh player to lead the Lions on Tour after Arthur Harding in 1908, John Dawes in 1971 and Phil Bennett in 1977.
The openside flanker – also the fifth youngest Lions skipper ever – led by example in the first two Tests against the Wallabies.
Making his Lions Test debut as captain in Brisbane, Warburton topped the tackle count and spurred his side on to go 1-0 up in the series after an absorbing 23-21 victory.
But if that was impressive, his performance in the second Test against the Wallabies was one for the ages. Sir Clive Woodward dubbed it the best display he had ever seen in a Lions jersey, and Warburton dominated the breakdown until his 66th-minute withdrawal – which changed the game.
The flanker had unfortunately torn his hamstring during that narrow defeat in Melbourne and had to watch on from the sidelines as the Lions secured their first series win in 16 years in Sydney a week later.
Four years on, and Warburton once again proved what a special player and leader he is during the Tour to New Zealand – as the Lions drew a dramatic series with the All Blacks.
After leading the side in the very first clash of the Tour against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, he crossed for his first-ever try for the Lions against the Highlanders.
He then came off the bench in the triumph over the Maori All Blacks and was among the replacements for the first Test as Peter O’Mahony took the captaincy and the No 6 jersey.
But with the Lions going down in Auckland in that first skirmish with the All Blacks, Head Coach Warren Gatland identified Warburton’s skill at the breakdown and ability to slow down New Zealand’s ball as something the Lions lacked.
And he returned to lead the side to a famous Test win in Wellington and then a drawn third and final Test to share the series.