Wales skipper Sam Warburton played his first game since March
Wales and British & Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton finally got back onto the rugby pitch after injury and contractual difficulties when he played 50 minutes for Cardiff Blues in their 21-17 friendly defeat at Leicester Tigers.
Warburton was joined by new signing Adam Jones in a Blues side that battled back from an early 12-0 deficit to lead 17-12 in the second half against the English giants. But three late penalties from England outside half Freddy Burns wrapped up the game for the home side.
Warburton hadn't played since undergoing surgery after dislocating his shoulder in Wales' 51-3 RBS 6 Nations win over Scotland in March. The on-going impasse between the WRU and the Regions over the signing of the new Rugby Services Agreement meant he wasn't able to play in any of the Blues' earlier friendlies, but Thursday's successful conclusion meant he was able to play at Welford Road.
Tries from new Italian back row recruit Robert Barbieri and England and Lions scrum half Ben Youngs, one of which Burns converted, gave the Tigers their early 12-0 lead. But the Blues hit back with a sniping try from Wales scrum half Lloyd Williams and two Rhys Patchell penalties to make it 12-11 at the break.
Patchell then dropped a goal and kicked a penalty at the start of the second half to hoist the visitors into a 17-12 lead before Burns put the boot in with his hat-trick of late penalties to bag victory in a highly competitive game.
Scorers: Leicester Tigers: Tries: R Barbieri, B Youngs; Con: F Burns; Pens: F Burns 3. Cardiff Blues: Try: L Williams; DG: R Patchell; Pens: R Patchell 3
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.