Six Nations 2015: Wales captain Sam Warburton welcomes 'favourites' tag

Captain Sam Warburton could sing Michael Jackson song to Wales team to celebrate his 50th cap.
RBS Six Nations: Wales v England
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 6 February Kick-off: 20:05 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website, S4C online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Wales captain Sam Warburton says he prefers leading his side out against England in the Six Nations opener as favourites.

The 2013 British and Irish Lions skipper, 26, will win his 50th cap in Friday's match in Cardiff.

Injuries have forced England to make six changes to their team to face Wales on Friday, with many pundits and some bookmakers predicting a home win.

"I'd rather be favourites than underdogs," said Warburton.

"You work hard to try and get to number one, to try to be the best team, so when you do get given that [favourites tag] that's something I do quite enjoy."

England regulars Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, David Wilson, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan are all unavailable because of injury for Friday's match.

Morgan's broken leg has given Billy Vunipola a chance at number eight, while in the second row, where England have been hit hardest by injury, Bath's Dave Attwood will partner Saracens lock George Kruis, who has not played for three weeks after being banned for a dangerous tackle.

England's injury list
Ben Foden (knee - out for season), Manu Tuilagi (groin - could return next month), Kyle Eastmond (shoulder - will miss first Six Nations match), Brad Barritt (knee - will miss first Six Nations match), Owen Farrell (knee - out for whole Six Nations), Joe Launchbury (neck - could be fit by April), Courtney Lawes (ankle - could return mid-late February), Geoff Parling (knee - will miss opening Six Nations match), Ed Slater (knee - could be fit by April), Tom Wood (ankle - will miss first Six Nations match), Ben Morgan (leg - out for season), David Wilson (neck - will miss first Six Nations match)

Despite the injury crisis, Warburton does not expect the game to be any less difficult.

"They've got plenty of quality and the first thing I thought of when they announced their team was 'that's a real good pack.'

"You never play against a bad England team.

"There's too many good players in England for them to have a bad side. So I'm expecting another brutal encounter."

One player Warburton may have to get the better of to ensure a Wales victory is Wasps flanker James Haskell.

"He's a hugely experienced player," said Warburton.

"I've watched him this season and he's been going very well for Wasps.

"Very strong in the tackle area, a very prominent ball carrier as well."

Six Nations Nuggets: Alex Cuthbert - Wales v England 2013

Warburton meanwhile has been selected in a full-strength Welsh side who will be aiming to replicate their crushing 30-3 win over England in 2013 which sealed the Six Nations title.

"We are going to have to treat it the same way as that must-win last chance game," said Warburton.

"I think that's where it came from a couple of years ago.

"So it's making sure that we have that mindset going into this game and hopefully then we can sort of match a similar intensity to what we played like two years ago."

Top Stories