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Honorary Fellow 2015 – Sam Warburton

29 July 2015

I spoke to Cardiff Universities Honorary Fellow Sam Warburton. Warburton is the captain of the International Welsh Rugby Union team, a Cardiff Blues player and of course a rugby legend. Throughout his life he has set and met his goals.

I wanted to know how he felt about receiving the Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University and being recognised for his achievements.

““Amazing, it’s quite surreal really because Cardiff University is very prestigious… I’ve grown up in Cardiff my whole life and to be recognised by Cardiff University is great, very humbling. I really appreciate it.”

While we spoke about this I found out that Warburton had in fact started studying at Cardiff University but after his first year decided to focus on his rugby career – something I think all Welsh people are appreciative of.

Warburton’s passion for rugby began from an early age when he played with his local club the Rhiwbina Squirrels.

“I told my mum and dad that I wanted to be a professional sports person from a young age. They tried to let me know quite gently that it is quite difficult”

However, as ever Warburton persisted “I was pretty motivated from quite a young age perhaps from the age of fourteen or fifteen I thought I had a realistic chance of becoming a professional sports player.”

Although Warburton’s dream was to become a professional sports person, he stilled persisted with his education.

“There was a lot of advice from a young age to get into education as well as your sporting career because unfortunately due to injury, and it is a pretty cut throat business, not everyone makes it. Making sure that you have qualifications under your belt has always been paramount coming through the system.”

Grassroots rugby is important to Warburton, “I think it is hugely important”.

Warburton also believes in giving back, “A lot of the players give back to the grass roots game. WRU fund a lot in to the grass roots game as well. I am from Rhiwbina Squirrels which is my local club, I pop back and see the under eights and under nines sometimes, and I like to put a smile on their face. Making sure the foundations of rugby is strong is really important.”

During the interview I recognised the passion that Warburton has for sport was similar to his opinions on education. I was curious to know what his advice would be to young people who want to become a professional sports person.

“It’s great that you are motivated and you want to be a sports person – definitely go for it. But make sure you have something to fall back on, because it is taken out of your control, things like injury could happen to anyone, unfortunately. Making sure you have the right balance of the two is great.”

Warburton is set to captain for Wales in this year’s Rugby World Cup but what are his future plans after his rugby career ends?

“I plan to play rugby till I am thirty-two/ thirty-three, normally players play till they are thirty-four/thirty-five but I am not quite so durable as a lot of other guys. Careers after rugby is something I have been looking into recently. I am trying to keep my options wide open, I was kind of rushing into things and trying to find a career path but I am going to keep my options open over the next couple of years. Hopefully a career will come to me that I am just as passionate about.”