Burgess eager to prove his England critics wrong

England Rugby World Cup centre Sam Burgess says that after the criticism that
he has received he is eager to prove his critics wrong and prove that he is
ready for a world cup in rugby union.

Burgess has been the most discussed topic on England’s Rugby World Cup squad
and several high profile former players have openly said that he should not
have been included in the England squad.

Former England captain Will Carling and Jonah Lomu have both questioned whether
the former rugby league league star should be playing in a world cup when barely
ten months ago he was still a league player.

Ten months ago he produced a man-of-the-match winning display for the South
Sydney Rabbitohs, complete with a broken cheekbone, as they won Australia’s
NRL Grand Final.

Burgess spent the first half of his first season playing at centre and then
his club Bath decided that he was better suited as a flanker.

“I know some people have said this or that about me,” said Burgess.

“Mainly people who used to play union or coach the game. They are entitled
to their opinions and I don’t take it personally.”

“All I can do is go out there, do my best and try and be the best I can.
That was my approach in League and it is in the 15-man game. I have always had
huge belief in my ability.

“I’ve spoken to Will Carling. He got in touch after he made his comments.
Will’s just passionate about England. He has his opinions and is entitled to

“I just think you should never take comments personally. It doesn’t affect
me as a player, I believe in myself and the people around me.

“I understand it’s all part of the process. I knew this kind of thing
would come around. I was already well prepared for it.

“As a player I feel ready. I feel like a rugby union player.”

“People will always compare my past to what’s going on now, whereas I’d
rather not do that.

This weekend England return to Twickenham to face Six Nations champions Ireland
and have made five changes to the side which lost 25-20 against France in Paris
in their previous warm-up match.

Centre Brad Barritt and wing Anthony Watson return, while in the pack lock
Geoff Parling and back-rowers Tom Wood and Ben Morgan get chances. Burgess has
been named on the replacements bench.

Lancaster will certainly be demanding more from his forwards following their
rough ride against France’s strongmen a fortnight ago.

Six Nations champions Ireland are also on a mission to bounce back from last
weekend’ 16-10 surprise home loss to Wales.

Having won 35-21 in Cardiff prior to that match, it was a setback for Ireland
coach Joe Schmidt and his players.

However, Schmidt has rolled out some heavy artillery, with the visitors seeking
a statement result ahead of their World Cup opener against Canada in Cardiff
on September 19.

The New Zealand-born coach insisted: “We are going to Twickenham to win.

“It is an important game because it is the last one before the World Cup
starts and it’s always better to go into a huge tournament on the back of a
victory rather than a defeat.”

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