Warburton backed by Charteris
Luke Charteris can't wait to be led by "world-class" Wales captain Sam Warburton.
Last Updated: 10/09/11 9:33am
Luke Charteris is relishing the prospect of being led into World Cup battle by "world-class" captain Sam Warburton.
Warburton will become the youngest skipper in World Cup history, aged 22 years and 341 days, when Wales meet Pool D favourites South Africa.
And giant Newport Gwent Dragons lock Charteris believes Wales have an inspired player at the helm.
"First of all he's a really genuine, good bloke off the field, which you have to be to be a skipper," said Charteris, who will partner Alun-Wyn Jones in the second-row.
"He has the respect of all the boys because of the kind of guy he is off the field, but on the field he's world-class.
"To say that about a 22-year-old is pretty rare, but at that age he has already proven himself against the world's top players on the world stage.
"In the three games he has been captain I think he's been outstanding and I think that shows in the way the team has been playing."
Charteris will make his World Cup debut buoyed by Wales coach Warren Gatland describing him as the squad's leading lock on current form.
Strong performances in the tournament warm-up games have underpinned Charteris' selection, meaning Bradley Davies has to be content with a place on the bench.
"To get the reward of a starting spot is really nice. Now I've got to start the actual work," he added.
"I am no different to anyone else in this squad. Every single person did a massive amount of work over the summer, and hopefully it is all aimed at Sunday evening.
"All the tough training sessions and camps in Poland have given 15 of us the opportunity to go out there and do the job.
"Their lineout as a unit is probably one of the best in world rugby. There is not just one option, they've got several good lineout options.
"But with the sort of backline we have, we've got to make sure we give them enough ball to attack and put the points on the board."
Victory for Wales - only their second in 26 attempts against South Africa - would put them in charge of their group, but defeat renders Sunday week's appointment with Samoa as a make-or-break mission.
In the six previous World Cups, Wales made pool stage exits three times, but the tournament is a new experience for nine of Sunday's line-up, including Charteris.
"This is my first opportunity, and in this group of players there are quite a lot of new boys who have never experienced a World Cup before," he said.
"So we are all coming in with one goal, and that is to do the best we can."