Cardiff Blues and Wales star Sam Warburton has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
After leading the British and Irish Lions to a draw against New Zealand, in his second tour as captain of the side, last summer, he has been recognised for his services to rugby.
The 29-year-old is the second youngest captain of Wales, beaten only by another Cardiff legend in Gareth Edwards, and has won 74 caps for the national side to date, 48 of which have been as captain.
Warburton has also made 106 appearances for Cardiff Blues simce his debut in 2008, after coming through the academy system from Whitchurch High School via Glamorgan Wanderers in the Welsh Premiership.
He has not long signed a new national dual contract keeping him in Wales and at the Arms Park until after the 2019 World Cup, and recently tweeted he was ‘Cardiff Blues til he dies’, re-affirming his commitment to the capital club.
Speaking to the official club website on being awarded the honour, Warburton said, “I am overwhelmed, privileged and very proud to be appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
“This recognition is the pinnacle of my career as it is not only a personal honour but it is as much an award for my team mates and coaches at all levels as it is for me. This wouldn’t have been possible without all of the people around me who have shaped my life in Rugby.
“Thank you to everybody who has contributed to my career, in particular, my Mother, Father, my wife Rachel and extended family. Thank you also to the Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff Blues and Derwyn Jones, my manager, for their unwavering faith and support.”
Warburton has recently had knee surgery which will likely keep him out until May, possibly missing the rest of the season depending on Cardiff Blues’ progress in the Guinness Pro14 and European Challenge Cup.