The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

McNamara rejects Burgess 'thug' tag

England coach Steve McNamara has defended the disciplinary record of star forward Sam Burgess after he was ruled out of Saturday's World Cup match against Ireland through suspension.
McNamara rejects Burgess 'thug' tag
by AAP

By Ian Laybourn

LONDON, Oct 29 PA - England coach Steve McNamara has defended the disciplinary record of star forward Sam Burgess after he was ruled out of Saturday's World Cup match against Ireland through suspension.

The South Sydney back-rower was put on report for a high tackle on second-rower Sam Thaiday in Saturday's opening 28-20 defeat by Australia at the Millennium Stadium, and subsequently received a one-match ban.

England have decided not to appeal the decision, Burgess taking the day out of camp at Loughborough University on Tuesday to represent the squad at a reception with the Prince of Wales at Clarence House.

Given the loading Burgess would have received for a similar offence in the NRL, there is little doubt the Englishman would have faced a stiffer penalty back in Australia.

Since joining the Rabbitohs in 2010, Burgess has been charged six times by the NRL match-review committee and he served three suspensions this season, including one for an infamous 'squirrel grip' on Melbourne centre Will Chambers.

McNamara dismissed a claim that the former Bradford forward was a "thug".

"That is completely wrong," McNamara said.

"Anyone who understands Sam knows he's not that type of player."

McNamara insisted Burgess' tackle on Thaiday was nothing more than "clumsy" and believes a precedent was set in the 2011 Four Nations Series when Australia forward Tony Williams was given a one-match ban for a high tackle.

"He nearly decapitated Ben Westwood and got a one-match ban," McNamara said.

"We judged the incident. Sam has got to pay the price for his clumsy tackle and we've got to take that one on the chin.

"If you watch the tackle closely, Sam didn't go to maim anybody. He got his timing wrong.

"Thankfully Sam Thaiday was okay. There was nothing too major done there."

Burgess will return for England's final group game against Fiji in Hull on Saturday week and, in the meantime, his place at loose forward is set to go to Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin.

O'Loughlin missed the game against Australia, as well as England's warm-up defeat by Italy, with an Achilles injury.

He could line up alongside Canterbury prop James Graham, who sat out the opening game in Cardiff due to what was thought to be an internal disciplinary measure.

McNamara declined another opportunity to clarify the situation at Tuesday's media session in Loughborough.

"Everyone was available last week barring Sean O'Loughlin, who we decided not to risk, and everyone is available this week," McNamara said.


Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories