English forward Sam Burgess is set to face the wrath of the Rugby League World Cup Match Review Committee following his careless tackle on Australia’s Sam Thiaday during the opening game at Cardiff on Saturday.
His sixty-third minute reporting may result in Burgess missing the remainder of England’s group matches. This caps off a horrible week for the host nation who were forced to take action on fellow forwards Gareth Hock and James Graham for off-field behavioural issues.
There’s no doubt Sam Burgess is a match winner for his club and nation.
But where do you draw the line between doing what’s right for your team, and taking things into your own hands?
Burgess was suspended on three occasions for a total of four weeks each during the 2013 NRL season. In round 1 against the Sydney Roosters, round 11 against Cronulla and the infamous ‘squirrel grip’ which cost Sam two weeks following their clash with the Melbourne Storm.
Billy Slater post game said in an interview, “He does that at NRL level all the time. He is a strong guy and is playing some great footy.”
The thing is that Sam doesn’t need to be over aggressive for South Sydney or England. He has by his side brother George who is more than capable of causing destruction to any opposition and this was again shown when he crossed in the first game of the World Cup. He needs to learn to trust those around him and not put so much pressure on himself to have to lift the team alone.
There’s a lot of focus on Sam Burgess. He’s marketable with his good looks and charm. The story of him and his brother’s path to the top of rugby league is inspiring.
One thing he doesn’t want to become is a bad boy for going past striking fear into the opposition and becoming foolish. With the way the NRL suspension system works, carry over points could really hurt Burgess over the next few years if he gets charged with something more sinister.
The fate of Sam Burgess will be known at midday on Monday (UK time).