Burgess: Peacock is an inspiration

New England captain Sam Burgess says Jamie Peacock has long been a huge inspiration to him.

Burgess will skipper England for the first time on Saturday in Huddersfield.

He will follow in the footsteps of former captain Peacock, who led both England and Great Britain.

Peacock made 21 appearances for England and 26 for Great Britain.

“I have been a massive fan of Jamie’s since I was young,” Burgess said.

“I made my debut for Bradford against Jamie at Leeds. I made my Great Britain debut with Jamie against the Kiwis.

“I am now captain and he is the team manager of England so it is funny how we have always met in our careers.”

Burgess described the feeling of joy when it was announced he would be England captain.

“You always dream to represent a Super League club, never mind captain your country,” he said.

“I guess the England captaincy is a real honour. It is something that I will do with pride and give it everything.

“I will be over the moon on Saturday.  I will sing that anthem loud and proud with my teammates.”

New England head coach Wayne Bennett has been a “calming presence” on the team, according to Burgess.

Bennett has replaced Steve McNamara at the helm of the national team.

“Wayne’s a joy to be around,” Burgess said.

“When it’s business time, it’s business time. He’s very honest with you and that’s all you can ask for.

“He also really takes time to understand you not only as an athlete but individually as a person as well.”

England meet New Zealand tomorrow. A win would be them in the box seat for a spot in the final at Anfield.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs forward nsisted England are fully aware of the need to hit the ground running when they come up against the Kiwis.

“I think we all know the importance of the game this weekend,” he said.

“It’s Test match rugby and that’s what it’s all about. Every game should be do or die.

“We’re preparing on a daily basis to get our best performance out on the field. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good game. A physical encounter between both teams.”

England might have beaten New Zealand in a test series last year but Burgess insisted they will still present a massive challenge.

“They have probably got as good a Kiwi side as I’ve seen,” he said.

“It will really test us and it will be a great experience for us out there on Saturday.”

The last time the 27-year old featured for the England Rugby League team was the 2013 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand which he described as “one of the greatest test matches” he had ever been a part of.

“When I think about that game it brings out real mixed emotions,” he admitted.

“As a child I always wanted to play at Wembley.

“It is one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in.”

Burgess will be playing alongside two of his brothers, George and Thomas, tomorrow which he admitted was a bit surreal to think about at times.

“Sometimes I take it for granted what we’re doing as brothers at the moment,” he said.

“We get to represent our country together and it is quite amazing. I never ever thought that would happen when we were kids as well.”

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