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Cardiff Blues to honour Warburton at Leinster opener

24th August 2018

Supporters will have the opportunity to thank Sam Warburton as Cardiff Blues pay tribute to the flanker during half-time of their Guinness PRO14 clash against Leinster next Friday (7.35pm kick-off).

The Cardiff Blues, Wales and British & Irish Lions legend called time on his illustrious career early this month after unsuccessfully returning to pre-season training.

However, he is looking forward to being welcomed onto the pitch at half-time of the mouth-watering encounter between European champions, in which he is also working as a pundit for Premier Sport.

Warburton said: “This will be the most emotional thing since I finished. Since announcing my retirement I have been outside that rugby bubble so being in front of the crowd will be great. 

“It will be my last time on the Arms Park pitch recognised as a player. I remember a coach saying to play every game as if it is your last and I just wish I knew when my last game at the Arms Park would be. I would have cherished that moment so much more.

“It’s a really nice gesture but I know it’s going to be tough emotionally.”

Since hanging up his boots, the 29-year-old has been inundated with messages of goodwill from across the rugby world and beyond.

He admits it has been overwhelming but will be eternally grateful for the support he has received, particularly from the Arms Park where he will now be a regular.

Warburton continued: “I really want to thank the fans for the genuinely overwhelming support I have received since announcing my retirement. I couldn’t believe the amount I received from not only players, which is fantastic, but the fans as well.

“It is very surreal to hear some of the messages, especially when you think I’m just a local boy that has gone on to achieve their dream of playing for the Blues – to have so much respect from the fans is really nice.

“I will be down at Cardiff Arms Park all season now and for the rest of my days as a fan, which will be really enjoyable. I will be that guy banging the drum in the south terrace with face paint on! I’m also hoping to stay involved in the organisation in some official capacity.”

Cardiff Blues take on reigning champions Leinster in the opening fixture of the Guinness PRO14 at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, August 31 (7.35pm). Tickets are available now and can be purchased by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.