Rugby Union

Jason Robinson Exclusive: Sam Burgess has 'great opportunity' to make World Cup splash

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Jason Robinson believes Sam Burgess has what it takes to make an impact for England at the Rugby World Cup this month.

Burgess, like Robinson, is a Rugby League convert and was named in England's 31-man squad for the tournament which kicks off with Stuart Lancaster's team taking on Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

However the decision to include the 26-year-old has been met with some criticism, most notably from former England captain Will Carling who claimed that "no one I have spoken to thinks he's ready" less than a year after switching codes.


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The biggest problem facing Burgess, who won his first cap for England in August having made his professional debut for Bath in November 2014, is settling on a position. He's featured at both centre and at flanker, and while Robinson concedes it has been 'tough' for the former South Sydney ace, he says Burgess has the talent to make a mark on the world stage.

"We’ll soon find out, won’t we?" the former Sale Sharks player told GiveMeSport when asked if Burgess has what it takes. "It's been tough for him to learn two different roles, one has been with the backs at centre and the other is at six. For me I came straight in as a back and went straight on to the wing.

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"For him, he’s come in from being forward and played centre, and is also now at six so it has been difficult for him. But it’s a great opportunity. The coaches see something in him that they believe will make a big contribution to this year’s World Cup.

"He’s a big old unit, 17,18 stone and I think we’ll see him at his best over the next six weeks."

Robinson was speaking ahead of taking part in RugbyAid, where an all-star England team comprised of celebrities and rugby legends take on a Rest of the World XV at Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop stadium on Friday, 4 September shown live on BT Sport.


The showdown, organised by fellow World Cup winner Mike Tindall, is designed to raise funds for Rugby For Heroes, which raises money and awareness through the sport of rugby, the fan community and the wider professional player network to support military personnel who are making the transition back from military service to civilian life.

"It’s quite unique to be here," Robinson says. "We’ve seen SoccerAid so many times and it’s great that Mike Tindall has put this on. We’ve seen lots of people come together, ex-rugby players and celebrities - the likes of Louie Spence, Terry Hollands, JB Gill - there’s so many people trying to help out Rugby For Heroes which is great."

Rugby Aid kicks-off at the Twickenham Stoop at 7.45pm on Friday 4th September. Tickets are £20 and available to buy via or on the night with all proceeds going to Rugby For Heroes, which raises funds and awareness through the sport of rugby to support military personnel. Rugby Aid is also exclusively live on BT Sport 1 from 7.00pm.

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