Sam Warburton 'to relinquish Wales captaincy'

A report claims that Sam Warburton is to step aside as Wales skipper later this month, with a new captain to be named prior to the Six Nations.

Cardiff Blues flanker Sam Warburton has reportedly informed the Wales coaching staff that he is to stand down as captain after six years in the role.

The 28-year-old first took over skipper duties in 2011 and also guided the British and Irish Lions to a famous series win in Australia four years ago.

According to BBC Sport, however, Warburton will relinquish the armband prior to next month's Six Nations, with stand-in boss Rob Howley to name a replacement on January 17 - the day of his squad announcement for the competition.

Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones is the favourite to replace Warburton, who became the youngest player to captain Wales at a Rugby World Cup in 2011 when leading his nation to the semi-final stage in New Zealand.

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Sam Warburton of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 15, 2015
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