England the ultimate honour, says Burgess

Sam Burgess has spoken of his excitement at being involved in England’s Gillette Fusion International against France at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday.

Burgess and fellow NRL duo Gareth Ellis and Gareth Widdop endured a 22-hour flight from Australia, but is delighted to have been considered by Steve McNamara for England’s only international game on home soil this year.

“No I don’t think we should be. International football should be the pinnacle of the game and I think as players we should do our best to make every game we can,” said Burgess.

“It was never in doubt that I wanted to play this game. No matter whether it’s half way around the world, we want to make the journey as it means that much to put that jersey on.

“It’s good that England have flown us over and hopefully it’ll be something that will continue.”

The game will reunite Burgess with former coach Steve McNamara and the 21-year old is pleased to see the likes of Nick Scruton, Joel Tomkins, Kevin Brown and Gareth Widdop in the 19-man squad ahead of what promises to be a hard fought match.

Burgess said: “It’s going to be good, there are a lot of new faces and the main reason why I came across was to be a part of the new setup. So hopefully we can gel well together for this weekend.

“You never know what to expect from the French really. It’s going to be a tough game, they’re a big set of guys and we’re a fairly young side as well.

“Hopefully we can handle it and just get out there and enjoy playing together. The key for this week is to get the combinations together as a team.”

The former Bradford star moved to South Sydney Rabbitohs at the start of the season and despite being the sole Englishman in the ranks, Burgess is delighted by the way he has progressed since his move to Australia

“It’s going really well, I’m really enjoying myself both on and off the field. My game’s coming on pretty well over there. I’ve fitted in well with the guys and the lifestyle is just what I expected,” added the utility forward.

“I get a lot of stick being the only Englishman in the team, but it’s good. There are a lot of Kiwi boys and Australians, so I just mix in.

“I’m a bit of the joker in the pack, so no change there really. I’ve enjoyed my time so far, but I’m looking forward to this week with the England boys.”

The Gillette Fusion International will be crucial to England’s Four Nations campaign Down Under later this year and believes the NRL contingent could prove to be crucial to England’s chances against Australia and Zealand.

 “Hopefully me, Gareth Ellis and young Gareth Widdop can pass our experience from playing in the NRL and what it’s going to be like in Australia,” said Burgess, who scored two tries in last year’s Gillette Four Nations Final against Australia.

“Over there it’s a little bit different in terms of the media speculation and the size of the game. We can help give a bit of an insight and pass on our experience. But this game is going to be good and it will help lead us into the Four Nations as well.”

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