Rugby World Cup 2015: Sam Warburton relishing 'biggest game'

Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales coach Warren Gatland on World Rugby warning
Rugby World Cup: England v Wales
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 26 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio.

Wales captain Sam Warburton says the World Cup match against England will be the biggest he has ever played in.

The winners of the match at Twickenham will take a major step towards qualifying for the quarter finals.

Warburton, 26, led Wales in the semi-final four years ago and captained the British and Irish Lions, but he says this game tops the lot.

"It probably will be the highest profile game, more than the Lions," he said.

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales 54-9 Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Twickenham Stadium

"The Welsh public have been thinking about it ever since the pool draw two or three years ago.

"I think it's the biggest game that we'll play in, unless we meet each other again in the final which could be the case, you never know.

"But I think yes, this will be the biggest game I've ever played in."

England opened their campaign with a 35-11 win over Fiji, and Wales beat Uruguay 54-9 in their first match of Pool A.

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton led the 2013 Lions to Australia

Australia are also in the so-called pool of death, and opened their tournament with a 28-13 win over Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Keeping a cool head

The match could be one of the key games in the tournament, a fact Warburton acknowledged.

"It's a must win game because it will take the pressure off massively if you win," he added.

"But if you don't you've still got a great chance of getting through the group - so it's not be all or end all this Saturday, but it will have a huge bearing on the outcome of the pool."

The Cardiff Blues player says he is not allowing himself to get too excited too far ahead of the match.

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"I found when I was younger I'd get myself so wound up about a match on the Monday and by the time Saturday comes you feel drained a and flat.

"My wife texted me this morning and asked if I was excited and I said I just haven't let myself yet.

"I'll go on the internet to look at some houses and completely distract myself from rugby.

"In training I'm on the money, I might do a bit of analysis afterwards, but apart from that I'm not thinking about it all."

Warburton rates Tipuric

Warburton will pack down in a back row alongside Taulupe Faletau and Dan Lydiate, with the in-form Ospreys open-side Justin Tipuric on the bench.

Coach Warren Gatland admitted he had had a difficult conversation with Tipuric to tell him he would not be starting after being - in Gatland's opinion - man of the match in Wales' three warm-up matches.

Warburton was full of praise for Ospreys player Tipuric.

Warburton says the England match will be one of the biggest of his career

"Justin's being playing like this for four years now and it's a dynamic that everyone is quite used to at home in Wales.

"He's been a top-class seven for many many years, not just now. I've always had him as one of the most difficult opponents I've played against.

"With Justin you find him all over the pitch so he's extremely difficult to mark out of the game.

"It's great knowing we've got someone like Justin on the bench to come in and do a job."