Wales v South Africa: Warburton has 'no issue' with referee Rolland

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Warburton relishes Boks challenge

Wales v South Africa

Venue:
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Date:
Saturday, 9 November
Kick-off:
17:30 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC 2, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and online

Captain Sam Warburton does not expect any issues to arise with referee Alain Rolland during Wales' clash against South Africa on Saturday.

Irishman Rolland will officiate his first Wales game since sending off Warburton in their 9-8 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat by France.

"It won't be an issue on the weekend," said Warburton.

Warburton, who was shown a red card for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc, later said Rolland's decision was correct.

The referee stood by his decision to send off the player despite being criticised for being too harsh.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said at the time that Rolland should have sent Warburton to the sin-bin instead of banishing him in the 18th minute.

In the meantime, Warburton has helped Wales to Six Nations titles in 2012 and 2013.

Rolland and Warburton's paths have rarely crossed since, with the referee on the touchline when Wales beat Italy during the 2013 Six Nations.

Warburton doubts Rolland's presence will have any bearing on how he "normally" behaves with a referee.

The Cardiff Blues open-side flanker said: "I met Alain - it was last Six Nations - he came in the changing room for the Italy match; I think he was on the touch then and I said 'hello' and whatever.

"And it [the 2011 World Cup sending off] feels like such a long time ago now.

"It very rarely crosses my mind unless somebody brings it up.

"I joke about it now saying it was a PR stunt because nobody knew about me then.

"I've barely spoken to him since the semi-final to be honest; literally just a handshake, pretty much, so [we've had] next to no contact for two years or so.

"I don't think I ever will speak to him about it, either."

Gatland will not meet Rolland ahead of the game, and Warburton says it would be unnecessary for the Wales coach to do so ahead of their opening November Test.

The New Zealander was absent from media commitments following the announcement of instead attending a pre-Tests International Rugby Board coaches' briefing.

The Wales captain added: "That's where he [Gatland] is, he's going to find out what the refs are looking for and then we'll get that feedback on Thursday; whether it's something at the breakdown or scrum engagement and we get that fed back that information.

"I guess because he's gone to that meeting on Tuesday, it's not as important [to meet Rolland] .

"Normally Warren and I will go and meet the referee and chat to him, but most of the time when you meet them you're on the same page.

"You know what they're after. We ask them if there's anything they've seen, but they wouldn't have seen anything from a Welsh perspective for six months so it's a bit more of a difficult one."

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