Warburton will be joined on tour by Alex Cuthbert, who is going on his first Lions tour. Also selected are Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny who both toured with the Lions to South Africa in 2009. Gethin Jenkins, who will be rejoining the Blues over the summer, has also been selected as part of the squad, his third Lions tour.
Cardiff-born Warburton was a member of the 2006-2007 Blues Academy and along with Jamie Roberts was part of the Blues U20 squad that later blazed a trail through the U20 Reebok Regional Championships to win the title.
At the end of March 2007, Warburton was named captain of the Wales U19 squad for the 2007 IRB U19 World Championships. He led his team through a successful tournament in which they triumphed over Samoa and Argentina in the Pool stages to reach the semi-final against New Zealand. Though defeated in this match Wales U19 fought bravely against Australia U19 in the 3rd place play-off, narrowly losing but earning a well-deserved fourth place in the IRB U19 World Rankings.
Warburton made his Cardiff Blues debut against Edinburgh in April 2009 and has gone on to make 62 appearances scoring 25 points for the region.
Speaking of the Lions selection, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies said,
“Being selected for the Lions is the pinnacle of any players career and to have four players from the region representing us is fantastic.
“It’s testament to the Blues. They’ve all come through the system with us at the Blues Academy and I’m delighted for them.
“The Lions won in ’89 and 2001 was a narrow loss and I’m sure this series will be another great one.
“I’m sure Warren will get them together very quickly to take on a Wallabies team that is doing well.
“Sam being Captain is a fantastic opportunity for him. He will lead by example and be a fantastic captain for the squad.
“His main attribute is he works exceptionally hard and leads by examples. He gets behind the team and the ethos and is an excellent rugby player.
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland added,
“Being selected to tour with the Lions is the ultimate achievement for any rugby players from the British Isles.
“We are extremely proud to be providing four players on this year’s British and Irish Lions tour to Australia and obviously delighted that our own Sam Warburton has been chosen to lead the squad.
“Sam is a product of the Blues development system having played age grade rugby for the Blues before coming through our Academy and joining the senior squad.
“It is testament to the development pathway we have here in the Blues that all four of our Lions came through the Blues Academy system going on to represent their region, country and now the Lions.
“I’m delighted also for Gethin Jenkins who will be returning to play for the Cardiff Blues next season.
“I would like to congratulate them all, and indeed all the Welsh players selected, on making the squad and wish them the best of luck on the tour.”
Later on this afternoon the Welsh Lions will be attend a press conference at Margam Castle, in Margam Park.
Cardiff Blues will be holding a free Meet the Blues Lions evening for supporters on Tuesday 7th May, 7.30pm at the Arms Park Clubhouse.
This historic Lions’ 125th Year Anniversary Tour to Hong Kong Australia will uniquely kick off with a first ever Lions v the Barbarians match, in Hong Kong on Saturday 1st June in the Hong Kong Stadium.
The first Test against the Qantas Wallabies will be played at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 22nd June, where twelve years ago the Lions won their 1st Test, by 29 points to 13.
The second test takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 29th June. The third and final Lions’ Test v the Qantas Wallabies takes place in Sydney on Saturday 6th July. All the matches will be shown live in the Arms Park Clubhouse.
Lions squad for 2013 tour
Backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Rob Kearney (Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ireland), Alex Cuthbert (Wales), Sean Maitland (Scotland), George North (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Manu Tuilagi (England), Owen Farrell (England), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Conor Murray (Ireland), Mike Phillips (Wales), Ben Youngs (England).
Forwards: Dan Cole (England), Cian Healy (Ireland), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Matt Stevens (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Dylan Hartley (England), Richard Hibbard (Wales), Tom Youngs (England), Ian Evans (Wales), Richie Gray (Scotland), Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales), Paul O’Connell (Ireland), Geoff Parling (England), Tom Croft (England), Toby Faletau (Wales), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales).