Sam Warburton says referee Rolland's red card was right

Sam Warburton was sent off for this tackle
Sam Warburton was sent off for this tackle on Vincent Clerc

Wales captain Sam Warburton says referee Alain Rolland was right to send him off for a tip tackle in the 9-8 World Cup semi-final defeat by France.

The incident sparked controversy with Rolland accused of being too harsh.

"The IRB [International Rugby Board] said if you lift up a player and drop him it's a red card, and that's exactly what I did," said Warburton.

"I can't complain. There was no point in appealing against it and I didn't have a leg to stand on really."

Immediately after the event, and since the tournament ended, Wales coach Warren Gatland has maintained that Rolland should have sent Warburton to the sin-bin instead of banishing him in the 18th minute.

In the post-match press conference Cardiff Blues star Warburton, 23, said: "I'm obviously gutted, but there was no malicious intent.

"I felt like as soon as it hit him [wing Vincent Clerc] his bodyweight took control of what happened."

But as he nears a return to action following a three-week ban and post-tournament rest, Warburton admitted Rolland made the correct decision.

"I didn't intend to do anything like that and I had only had a yellow card in my career up until that point so it was a shock to get a red," said Waburton.

"But there was nothing I could do and I just had to support the boys for the rest of that match and the remaining game against Australia."

Rolland will not take charge of any Wales games during the 2012 Six Nations, in which Warburton will be vying with Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees for the captaincy.

Warburton took over from neck-injury victim Rees ahead of the tournament in New Zealand.

Scarlets hooker Rees has stated he wants to reclaim the captain's armband for their rematch with Australia in Cardiff on Saturday, 3 December and the Six Nations that follows.

Warburton understands Rees's ambitions and said: "If it was offered to me again I would take it, but Matthew did a great job during the Six Nations so I would understand if they want to give it back to him.

"But personally I would love to hold on to it after enjoying it at the World Cup."

Fellow Wales squad members Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies, Lloyd Burns and Aled Brew will be in action when the Blues face Newport Gwent Dragons in the Pro12 League on Friday.

But Warburton will have to sit out the Welsh derby as he serves the finals stages of his ban.

Watch a full interview with Sam Warburton on Scrum V, from 1710 GMT, BBC Two Wales on Sunday.