Rugby League: Dewsbury’s Burgess named England captain

Sam Burgess with head coach Wayne Bennett. Pic: Alex Broadway / SWpix.com
Sam Burgess with head coach Wayne Bennett. Pic: Alex Broadway / SWpix.com
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Dewsbury’s Sam Burgess has been named captain of the England rugby league team by new head coach Wayne Bennett.

Burgess, who has played for England 14 times and Great Britain twice, will lead the side throughout the 2016 Ladbrokes Four Nations in the absence of the injured Sean O’Loughlin, who has been ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Burgess, 27, said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be asked to captain my country and to lead this group through the Four Nations tournament. I want to thank Wayne for having the trust and belief that I can do the job and I am determined to do my best for this team.

“Although I am captain on the field for this tournament, there are a group of leaders in this squad and I know that we will work together and as hard as possible to try to achieve success on the pitch for England.”

Burgess, who started out as a junior at Dewsbury Moor and now plays for South Sydney Rabbitohs, is playing for the national side for the first time since the 2013 World Cup semi-final. He will captain the team against New Zealand, Scotland and Australia, in the last international tournament before next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Bennett said: “I know the importance and pride that is placed on being captain of England. In Sam I believe we have got the right guy for the job whilst Sean is injured. He is a player and man who leads from the front and has the utmost respect from his teammates and fellow professionals.

“I know how much it means to Sam to play for his country, he is a huge player across our sport and he knows how to inspire and get the best out of people. I am certain he will do a great job as England captain.”

Burgess’ first game as captain will be against the world’s number one side, New Zealand, at the John Smith’s Stadium ,in Huddersfield, on Saturday October 29.

England will then take on Scotland at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday, November 5 in a double header alongside Australia versus New Zealand.

Finally, England will take on world champions Australia on Sunday, November 13 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Burgess will then hope to lead England out in the final at Anfield, Liverpool on Sunday, November 20.