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Sam Burgess: Life and Career of the Rugby Superstar

Sam Burgess

Samuel Burgess is a former professional rugby league player who dominated as a loose forward, prop or second-row forward in the 2000s and 2010s. Sam Burgess spent the first part of his career in England with the Bradford Bulls in the Super League and in Australia for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. WIth the Rabbitohs, Sam Burgess won the 2014 NRL Premiership, the club’s first in 43 years, and Burgess was named winner of the Clive Churchill Medal for man of the match in the Grand Final. On the international level, Sam Burgess also represented Great Britain and England. 

After a successful stint in the Rugby League, Sam Burgess switched over to the Rugby Union and played for Bath. After getting the call for the English squad, he became a dual code international, and was a member of England’s squad for their unsuccessful 2015 Rugby Union World Cup campaign. However, after a brief stint in the Rugby Union, Sam Burgess, switched back to the Rugby League in time for the 2016 NRL season. He was also voted into the All Decade team for 2010-2019. However, his career was cut short because of injury and he was forced to retire from the game because of a chronic shoulder injury. Let’s find out more about this rugby legend.

Sam Burgess: All You Need to Know

When was Sam Burgess born?

Burgess was brought into the world on 14 December 1988 in Liversedge, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. His late dad, Mark Burgess, who passed away because of a motor neuron illness was also a former Rugby League player who represented Nottingham City, Rochdale Hornets, Dewsbury and Hunslet. Sam Burgess’ mother, Julie Burgess works as an instructor at The Scots College in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. Sam and his three brothers have successfully played Ruby at a professional level. 

Where did Sam Burgess study?

Sam Burgess went to Heckmondwike Grammar School. He played junior rugby for Hunslet Parkside, Dewsbury Moor and furthermore played for Liversedge Cricket Club. 

Sam Burgess: Rugby League Career 

Bradford Bulls 

Burgess made his Super League début against Leeds in 2006 after previously being labelled by Shontayne Hape as “Great Britain’s Sonny Bill”. After a profoundly fruitful début season with the Bulls, Burgess was granted the Senior Academy Player of the Year Award by the club. In 2007 Burgess set up himself as a member of the starting lineup. After an incredible full season he was called up for the Great Britain crew for the 2007 Test arrangement with New Zealand, and was named as the most promising player of the year in the Super League. Burgess made his Great Britain debut against New Zealand in the first test in October 2007, scoring a try in the process. Burgess likewise played in the century match between the All Golds and Northern Union; he was adjudged to be the Man of the match. Because of his big hit on New Zealand prop Fuifui Moimoi during the Kiwis’ 2007 visit, the 19 year old Burgess gained a lot of fame.

Toward the finish of 2008’s Super League XIII, Burgess had to preclude himself from the England 2008 World Cup crew due to injury.

In September 2009, the South Sydney Rabbitohs declared they had signed up Burgess on a four-year contract from the 2010 season. Burgess, signed with the Bradford Bulls until the finish of the 2010 season, was delivered after the clubs concurred on his fees. South Sydney co-proprietor and A-rundown big name Russell Crowe convinced Burgess to pick his club over others that were vying for his signature, subsequent to welcoming Burgess and his mom to the set of Robin Hood, which he was shooting the movie in England at the time.

Burgess, in his last game in the UK prior to moving to the NRL, had a memorable outing in the last of the 2009 Four Nations competition, scoring two tries in England’s loss against Australia. 

South Sydney 

Before he had played a game for South Sydney, Burgess played prop for the NRL All Stars in the debut All Stars match after Rabbitohs prop Dave Taylor suffered an injury in his lower leg leading up to the match. It was played at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on 13 February 2010. The NRL All Stars lost the game 16–12. 

He was chosen to play for England against France in the one off test in 2010.

Burgess was banned for a week by the NRL Judiciary while they were evaluating one hook tackle. He was put on report during Round 21, against the Canterbury Bulldogs, for a hook tackle made on Canterbury fullback Ben Barba. Burgess hence missed the Round 22 conflict against Wests Tigers. This suspension came at a very critical time in the season, as forwards Michael Crocker, Luke Stuart, Scott Geddes, and Dave Taylor had all been precluded from the contest already.

Burgess kept on playing for England towards the finish of the period in the 2010 Four Nations competition. His shoulder was harmed during the first round of the 2011 NRL season against the Roosters on 11 March, for which he required a medical procedure and a month of rest. Notwithstanding, when he returned from that, he hurt his lower leg and was ruled out for the rest of 2011. 

In August 2013, the Burgess siblings made history as the first ever set of four siblings to represent an Australian side since Ray, Roy, Rex and Bernard Norman played for Sydney’s Annandale club during the 1910 NSWRFL season. That year, Burgess was prohibited for two games following his scandalous “squirrel grasp” on Will Chambers – where Chambers’ balls were snatched during a game. Sam was in a DVD about his life called ‘Slammin’ Sam: The Sam Burgess Story’. After the 2013 NRL season Burgess played for England in the 2013 World Cup. 

On 17 February 2014, it was reported that toward the year’s end Burgess would change to rugby union. In what was his last game for South Sydney, Burgess, alongside siblings Tom and George, Sam Burgess played against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the 2014 NRL Grand Final. In spite of enduring a wrecked cheekbone in the first tackle of the game, Burgess kept on playing on, with his team dominating the game. He was granted the Clive Churchill Medal for being the Grand Final’s best player. Considering the retrospective Clive Churchill decoration granted to Ron Coote in 1971, Sam Burgess was the first South Sydney player to earn the award in 43 years. 

Sam Burgess: Rugby Union Career

Sam Burgess was picked up by Bath Rugby to play in England’s top level Rugby competition beginning from October 2014. His beginning date was then deferred until December 2014 because of some unexpected complications during a medical procedure to fix a cracked cheek and eye socket. He was seen by the English rugby association as their response to Sonny Bill Williams – a big ball player from the RUgby League who was fully capable of translating his forward skills into the backline midfield of the Rugby Union.

He scored his first try for Bath in the thirteenth round of the Premiership against Wasps at the Recreation ground and was granted the man of the match award. On 21 January, he was named in the England Saxons crew to play the Irish Wolfhounds. On 10 April, Burgess started in the Aviva Premiership against Newcastle Falcons at blindside flanker. Burgess finished with the most turnovers of any major player in the matches of that round. 

On 10 August, Burgess was named in the England Elite Squad to make his International début against France at Twickenham on 15 August, in a warm-up game for the Rugby World Cup. He started the game which England won 19-14. Following his appearance where he was sin-binned, World Cup winning English scrum half Matt Dawson remarked: “You can’t take him to the World Cup for me. He played 80 mins and credit for that. Be that as it may, the manner in which the game went in the second half there was nothing for him to do. The incredible thing about Burgess is he doesn’t commit errors with the ball close by. Yet, tragically, in case you will be truly fastidious, positionally he wasn’t extraordinary. He played like a six as opposed to a 12. There are things that instinctively he doesn’t have the foggiest idea what to do.” Dawson’s remarks preceded Lancaster naming Burgess as one of four centres with star Henry Slade to play for England for the World Cup. His consideration and exhibitions at the World Cup were generally investigated, and seen by certain intellectuals as halfway to censure for England’s “embarrassing” early pool stage exit from the competition—the most exceedingly awful outcome for a host country in the competition’s set of experiences. Burgess in 2018 asserted “If people actually re-watched the games I participated in you will see I added to the team. What cost us an early exit was individual egos and selfish players not following our leader.” England overcame Wales 25-18 when Burgess was subbed in the 70th minute in his last game for England. On 5 November, Burgess decided to quit the Rugby Union, selecting to get back to South Sydney Rabbitohs, inking a three year deal in the process.

What did Sam Burgess say about England’s performance in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup?

During his time with the Rugby Union, Sam Burgess featured for England during a short stint in rugby union, before returning to the NRL, as the host nation were eliminated in the pool stage.

Burgess’ play throughout the tournament was criticised and the star said on twitter that he is still receiving messages that blame him for the English squad’s misfortunes. Here’s what he said through a series of tweets:

“I seem to be getting a few tweets regarding the Rugby WC in 2015… still,” Burgess wrote. “If people actually re-watched the games I participated in, you will see I added to the team. What cost us an early exit was individual egos and selfish players not following our leader, which essentially cost the coach and other great men their jobs. Tournaments are not won by the coaching staff or one player. It takes a commitment from the full group. I guarantee you this: I was committed but others had their own agendas. I have fond memories of my time in rugby union and some great friends. One day I will tell my side of the story but, for now, I love watching England and cannot wait to see them as they prepare for the 2019 WC in Japan.”

Sam Burgess: Return to the Rugby League

Toward the beginning of November 2015 it was accounted for that Burgess had been picked up by the South Sydney Rabbitohs for $1.5m AUD per season. This figure would make him the most generously compensated rugby league footballer ever and one of the three most generously compensated players in both the Rugby Union and the RUgby League. In December 2015 Burgess was chosen to play for the World All Stars in the 2016 Rugby League All Stars Match with his sibling Tom Burgess. In October 2016, Burgess was named in the 24-man England crew for the 2016 Four Nations competition. He was likewise named as the new captain under new mentor Wayne Bennett after the injury of original captain Sean O’Loughlin. In October 2017 he was chosen in the England crew for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. In the week paving the way to the last, Burgess was made team captain as Sean O’Loughlin pulled out with injury. Britain proceeded to lose the last game to Australia 6-0. On 6 December 2017, it was declared that Burgess had consented to extending his contract with Souths keeping him at the club until 2019. On 5 September 2018 Burgess inked a four-year contract with Souths keeping him at the club until the conclusion of the 2023 season. The new contract for Burgess corresponded with the Souths getting back to shape in The NRL with the club finishing third on the table towards the finish of the customary season.

What controversy was Sam Burgess involved in?

The next week, Burgess and South Sydney were entangled in an off field episode including Souths players uncovering themselves on Instagram to a female fan back in May 2018. A report by The Daily Telegraph confirmed that a bunch of Sam Burgess’ social media accounts were at the focal point of the saga. On 21 September 2018, Burgess was cleared by the NRL of any bad behavior. Burgess at that point addressed the media saying “I have not sexted anyone, I fully cooperated with the inquiry as I said I would. I have engaged lawyer Chris Murphy to pursue my remedies and he has retained defamation lawyers”.

Burgess began the 2019 NRL season firmly as Souths won 10 of their initial 11 games. Following Souths Round 13 defeat against Newcastle, Burgess was precluded with a shoulder injury. It was subsequently uncovered that Burgess required a drip embedded into his heart to battle a nasty infection after shoulder surgery and was precluded from playing indefinitely.

Burgess got back toward the Souths side for their Round 20 match against Cronulla which Souths lost 39-24 at Shark Park. Burgess was put on report during the match in the wake of hitting Cronulla player Matt Moylan with a high tackle. 

On 21 August 2019 Burgess was voted as one of the best players of the decade in the NRL team of the decade declaration which spanned players who played between the 2010 to 2019 seasons. The board who cast the ballot were comprised of Premiership-winning mentors Phil Gould, Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson and Ricky Stuart alongside Hall of Famers Peter Sterling, Darren Lockyer, Danny Buderus and Laurie Daley.

In round 25 of the 2019 NRL season, Burgess was supplanted on report in South Sydney’s triumph over arch rivals Sydney Roosters. Burgess was claimed to have pulled the hair of Easts player Billy Smith. Burgess was subsequently suspended for one match over the incident.

On 18 September 2019, Burgess was asked by NRL CEO Todd Greenberg to meet with him and show cause concerning why he ought not be condemned for an upheaval he made about analysis corresponding to the NRL legal executive. In a meeting with the media Burgess said “Everyone seems to be in uproar about this judiciary system, “Who is making the calls here? Is there a discussion before these calls go out there? I don’t know. What’s the process? It’s like a kangaroo court in there”.

At the end of the 2019 regular season, South Sydney were in third place on the table and consequently made the finals. Burgess missed the qualifying final against the Sydney Roosters because he was suspended in round 25. Burgess returned for the elimination semi-final against Manly-Warringah and helped the Souths to a 34-26 victory at ANZ Stadium. The following week, Burgess played in South Sydney’s 16-10 preliminary final loss against Canberra at Canberra Stadium. 

Why did Sam Burgess retire early?

On 30 October 2019, the chronic shoulder injury which had plagued Sam Burgess for some time, forced him into an early retirement. Burgess released a statement saying “To all South Sydney members and fans, fans of the game and even the supporters that aren’t my biggest fans, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making my career what it was in the NRL, I have loved absolutely every minute; the highs, the lows; the Grand Final; coming home; my injuries; my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride”. After his retirement, Sam Burgess worked as an assistant coach for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Sam Burgess: Awards and Honours 

Rugby league 

  • NRL Winner: 2014
  • Clive Churchill Medal Winner: 2014
  • George Piggins Medal Winner: 2014
  • Jack Rayner Players’ Player Award Winner: 2014
  • Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year Award Winner: 2014
  • Burrow Appreciation Award Winner: 2014
  • 2019: NRL team of the decade member 2010-2019.

Rugby union 

Aviva Premiership Runner-up: 2014/15

Who is Sam Burgess married to?

In December 2015, Sam Burgess tied the knot with girlfriend Phoebe Hooke in a lavish ceremony at her parents estate in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

How many children does Sam Burgess have?

Sam Burgess and his wife welcomed their daughter, Poppy Alice Burgess, on 24 January 2017. Their son, William “Billy” Mark Burgess, was born on 9 December 2018. 

When did Sam Burgess separate from his wife?

Sam Burgess and his wife separated less than a month after their son was born. They reconciled some time in April 2019 but split for a second time in October 2019. 

What legal troubles has Sam Burgess been involved in?

Shortly after Sam Burgess separated from his wife, an apprehended violence order (AVO) was taken out against him on behalf of his father-in-law, Mitchell Hooke.

Later on, Sam Burgess pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and common assault and claimed the allegations made by his ex-wife were “born out of malice or retaliation”. However, On 5 February 2021, Sam Burgess was found guilty of intimidating his former father-in-law, Mitchell Hooke. Luckily for Burgess, a little over a month later, his conviction was overturned following an appeal.

However, Sam Burgess’ issues with the law didn’t stop there. On 22 February 2021, Burgess was arrested by police and charged with driving offences which included driving an unregistered vehicle and driving without a valid licence. TO worsen the situation, Sam Burgess also failed a random roadside drug test. He was eventually set to appear in court on May 4th, 2021.

What is Sam Burgess’ net worth?

The rugby star Sam Burgess’ net worth is estimated to be around $14 million. 

What is Sam Burgess’ nickname?

Sam Burgess is very well known for his extremely aggressive, hard hitting style of play and for that, he has earned the nickname of Slammin’ Sam.

Do Sam Burgess’ brothers play Rugby as well?

Yes, Sam Burgess and his three brothers have all played Rugby at a high level. His younger brothers Tom Burgess and George Burgess are his teammates at the Rabbitohs while his older brother Luke Burgess represented both England and Australia before retiring from the sport.

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