Rob Burrow: A look at the impressive international career of England and Leeds Rhinos icon

Rob Burrow England SWpix

Rob Burrow in action for England at the 2013 World Cup

Rob Burrow had a glittering career for Leeds Rhinos, playing in one of the most successful sides in English rugby league history. 

And while fortunes for his national side weren’t the same, Burrow still made his mark on the international game. 

He made his debut for England in 2003 in the European Championship. 

England were still playing whilst Great Britain were also, and whilst he missed out on a GB call-up, Burrow took the opportunity to prove himself with both hands.

He played in every game during the tournament as England eased to success. 

They met France in the final, and Burrow scored twice in front of a 2,536 strong crowd at Warrington’s Wilderspool Stadium. 

England lifted the trophy after a 68-6 rout, and Burrow had staked his claim at such a young age. 

The European Championship returned again in 2004. 

Fresh off of the back of a Super League Grand Final win, Burrow once again found himself in the England side for the tournament. 

Again, England strolled to success, with Burrow featuring in every game at the tournament once more.

He found the try-line in the final against Ireland, as England ran out 36-12 winners at the Halliwell Jones. 

Despite not making the Great Britain side, Burrow was giving his all during his time in the England representative set-up. 

After an impressive season in 2005, Burrow hoped once more for a call-up to what was this time, a much more competitive England squad. 

However, he missed out on the side as England fell to a 30-22 friendly defeat to New Zealand at Headingley.

In 2006, the RFL organised the Federation Shield. A tournament made up of England, France, Tonga, and Samoa. Burrow was originally called up to the England side who were expected to win the competition with ease.

Rob Burrow receives call-up to the Great Britain squad

Rob Burrow Great Britain SWpix Rob Burrow in action for Great Britain in 2007

However, after an injury in the Great Britain squad for the Tri-Nations, Burrow was called up. 

He didn’t make an appearance during the tournament; however, it was a sign of things to come for Burrow and Great Britain.

In 2007, Burrow was called up for GB once more. This time for the three-match series against New Zealand. 

Burrow started the first game at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium and went on to play a key role in the game. 

Burrow played a clever kick into the corner, one that Gareth Raynor made no mistake in grounding.

The kicking duties were given to Burrow that night, as his boot helped GB to a 20-14 win in the first test, with the 5ft 5in playmaker causing havoc for the Kiwi defenders. 

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Lions run riot

The next test of the series would go down in history. GB ran riot, scoring 44 unanswered points to seal the series win. 

Again, Burrow was in the middle of all of the action, as he set up Leon Price early on to get GB on their way. 

He played a key role at half-back, helping to set up tries for Raynor and Ade Gardner before the half-time hooter had even sounded. 

Burrow wasn’t finished there either and after linking up with Sean O’Loughlin, he set up Gardner once more to extend the scores.

The number seven then got himself in on the act, after following up a break from Adrian Morley. 

The game finished 44-0 and Tony Smith’s Great Britain side had sealed their first series win since 1993.

There was still one game left to play at the DW Stadium in Wigan. Burrow once again started for the Lions as they looked to complete a hat-trick over the Kiwis.

Burrow was in the starting 13 once again, this time along his Leeds Rhinos half-back partner Danny McGuire. 

This clash was closer this time and the Lions found themselves 14-10 ahead at the start of the second half. 

Burrow found himself with the ball, 20 metres away from the New Zealand line as he set off on a winding run, leaving the Kiwis defence bamboozled as he dived over the line for a fantastic try. 

Great Britain completed the hat-trick, eventually winning 28-22, with Burrow kicking four conversions along the way. 

Rob Burrow named Player of the Series

Burrow was the highest points scorer and was named as player of the series, he had introduced himself to the world stage.

That would be Great Britain’s last game until 2019, as they divided into home nations. 

Playing in his first World Cup

Burrow was again called up for England for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. He started in their first game, as they beat Papa New Guinea 38-22.

He was also part of a side who would rather forget about the next game. A 52-4 battering from Australia dampened England’s hopes of success.

England managed to make it through to the semi-finals of the competition and met New Zealand. 

Burrow kicked three goals in the game, but his side slumped to a 32-22 defeat, which saw them knocked out of the competition. 

Injuries would keep Burrow out of the England side until 2012, where he returned to the squad for the International Origin Series. 

Burrow was used as an impact sub, the role he had been used in with the Rhinos, as England won the series 2-0.

World Cup semi-finals heartbreak as Shaun Johnson sends New Zealand to the final

Rob Burrow England SWpix
Rob Burrow in action at the 2013 World Cup

After being called up to the squad, Burrow’s final appearance for England came in the 2013 World Cup semi-final. 

He started the game on the bench as England saw victory narrowly slip out of their grasp in the final seconds of the game.

Overall, Rob Burrow represented England 13 times and Great Britain on five occasions, scoring a total of 94 points combined as he left his mark on international rugby league.

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