Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees eyes Wales captaincy return

Matthew Rees
Rees captained Wales for the first time against Australia last November

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees has said he wants to reclaim the Welsh captaincy back from Sam Warburton.

Flanker Warburton was appointed Wales' World Cup captain after Rees was ruled out with a neck injury.

But following successful surgery, Rees hopes to return for Wales against Australia next month and is keen to captain his country once again.

"It's definitely something I want to try and put my name forward for," he said.

The 30-year-old made a 34-minute appearance as a replacement for the Scarlets in their 24-17 Pro12 victory over Ulster last Saturday.

He hopes to figure in the region's Welsh derby against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

"It's been a frustrating few months watching the Scarlets and knowing I should have been a part of the World Cup and leading my country into the World Cup, it's been tough," Rees said.

"Injuries are a big part of the game and it's how you react and how you bounce back from it.

"I've got a massive couple of months ahead of me and I've got to get back to full fitness."

All being well Rees is set to make his international comeback against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 3 December.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland appointed Rees national team captain for last year's autumn internationals.

"I loved every minute of being captain of Wales and hopefully that comes up again in the future," he added.

"That's down to Gats [Gatland] and it's his decision. Hopefully I can get the captaincy back.

"But [I need to take] one step at a time making sure I get back to my best and everything else will fall into place.

"If I'm playing well and deserve a place in the squad then so be it. But my main aim is to get back to playing.

"I've just got to concentrate on these next couple of weeks in terms of the game on Saturday and the Heineken Cup.

"If I can get back then there's no reason why I can't feature in that Australia game."

Rees says Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton proved to be a capable captain during the World Cup in New Zealand.

"It's great for Sam," added Rees. "Sam's a young boy with an old head on his shoulders.

"He's going to be a great leader. He's shown that during the World Cup and he's done a great job and I'm pleased for Sam."

Warburton was among Wales' star performers during a campaign which saw them reach the semi-final.

And Rees hopes the returning Welsh players can reproduce their international form for their regions in this season's Heineken Cup.

"The boys [have] got to take a lot of confidence from that," said Rees of Wales' World Cup exploits.

"But they've got to make sure they bring it back to the regions, share their experience and everything they've learnt in a tough campaign.

"If they can do that there's no reason why these regions can't go up another level and start winning some silverware."

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