Sam Burgess Bids To Follow In Footsteps Of Sonny Boy Williams Rugby World Cup Success

Rabbitohs hero Sam Burgess hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sonny Boy Williams as he swaps codes in search of success at the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Sam Burgess’s final match in rugby league will go down in folklore, and the heroics he showed to inspire South Sydney to a first Premiership in 43 years will forever live in the memories of Rabbitohs supporters. Having left his legacy at the Bunnies he now prepares for his next challenge. The 23 year old now switches to rugby union and will play for Bath in the UK. Time will tell whether one of rugby league’s most dominant players in recent years can have the same impact on the 15 man game but one thing’s assured the Englishman won’t die wondering.

Sonny Shows the Way

Sporting superstar Sonny Bill Williams has just begun his second stint in rugby union. The Kiwi code hopper went from league to union in 2008 and spent 4 years in the game before returning to rugby league in 2013. While he didn’t dominate from day one SBW slowly but surely found his way in the 15 man game before ultimately becoming an opponent not many could handle. His first foray into rugby saw him finish with a super rugby title with the Chiefs in 2012 while he was a part of the All Blacks side to finally regain the World Cup in 2011.

So can Super Sam follow in SBW’s footsteps, can he add more silverware to his mantelpiece after leaving league with a premiership ring and the Clive Churchill medal? Could he become the prince of Twickenham, the man England can count on in some of the biggest moments on the international stage? Starring in the NRL grand final despite breaking his cheekbone and eye socket in the first tackle proves he’s physically and mentally tough; it’s a solid platform as he prepares to adapt to a new code.

There’s no doubting Burgess possesses plenty of weapons required to succeed in rugby. His physique makes most women drool while even some men find themselves staring. His power and sheer strength is scary while he makes moves his sizeable frame with ease. The 2014 NRL Lock of the Year has shown soft hand and sublime ball handling skills at times even as recently as the grand final when he showed sharp reflexes to catch a short kick whilst he was on the ground. He also displayed his incredible fitness, running nonstop for 80 minutes, putting his body on the line time after time.

Time is of the Essence

What Burgess will require is time. Experts including coaches, players and possibly most importantly dual internationals are differing in their opinions on how long it will take the former Rabbitoh to adapt to the game. Some believe Burgess will only need six months to settle while others expect he’ll require up to a year to fully grasp the game. But Burgess himself is aiming to come to grips with rugby quickly and so are English Coach Stuart Lancaster and the national side’s backs Coach Andy Farrell. Farrell who’s represented his country in both league and union believes the ex Bradford Bull could be playing for England in the 2015 world cup on home soil if he wins his race against time to acclimatise to his new code. Lancaster and Farrell share the same opinion as to which position will best suit Burgess, with the latter adamant on where he’ll make the most impact.

“There’s absolutely no doubt it, it will be in the centres.”

“And it would be more suited to his style of play. He’s a great line runner and a great guy to get you over the gainline.”

“He has a great offloading game. His defence is strong. In rugby league how he’s been coached will sit very comfortably in wider open spaces.” Answered Farrell to questions over where Burgess should play.

But ultimately UK rugby powerhouse Bath will get first crack at picking its star man’s position, with rumours they may look to build Burgess into a Flanker. But the club will wait till its new recruit begins training and picks up the basics before rushing to any positional decisions. And Sam’s transition should begin smoothly at under another former rugby league international, Mike Ford. The head coach will be in an excellent position to guide Burgess’s first steps in union.

Early Blow for Burgess and Bath

Burgess has already suffered a setback with that broken cheekbone and eye socket set to delay his rugby union debut. He had three plates inserted on the right side of his face and won’t be able to fly for at least a fortnight. While he’s also been advised not to take part in any contact work at training for six weeks after his expected arrival date, meaning it’s likely Burgess won’t suit up for Bath until mid-December.

The images of the athlete literally crying blood and tears after Souths Premiership win is inspiring enough to make you want to watch the Englishman achieve great glory once more. It was proof he’s a passionate player and a man who makes it his mission to succeed in whatever he does. Could we see more iconic moments from Burgess at the 2015 Rugby World cup?