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Burke eyeing Test honours with eligibility for 2 Six Nations sides

By Chris Jones
Fergus Burke of the Crusaders makes a break during the round 13 Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Crusaders at Mt Smart Stadium, on May 19, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

CEO of the Crusaders Colin Mansbridge has insisted the lure of an international career with England or Scotland rather than a large salary is the main reason Fergus Burke has opted to leave New Zealand and take on the daunting role of replacing Owen Farrell, who is quitting Saracens to join Racing 92 next season.

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Mansbridge, speaking on The Platform in New Zealand, said the fact Burke qualifies for England through his mother and Scotland thanks to his grandparents played a crucial role in his decision-making. Gregor Townsend already has Burke on his radar having unsuccessfully tried to place the outside half with Glasgow Warriors.

Mansbridge explained: “Fergus is eligible for three nations, ourselves, England and Scotland and we are disappointed to see him go. He is a good man and has worked really hard on himself in the (Crusaders) environment. We understand completely that when you are eligible for three countries it makes your decision-making more complex.

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“I think the short answer is that it is probably not just about the money. They (Saracens) have been fairly clear talking to him about what his aspirations could be and so it is not just about money. There is also experience and we have seen it with other athletes who have made calls to grow themselves with other experiences.”

Burke, who was born in Gisborne, is recovering from an Achilles injury and will link up with the Saracens squad this summer having made 33 appearances for the Christchurch-based outfit since making his debut in 2020 and has represented New Zealand U20s in the World Championship in Argentina.

Saracens veteran wing Sean Maitland moved from New Zealand and launched a successful Test career that won him 53 Scotland caps while flanker Andy Christie, who has just sustained a broken arm, is a current member of Townsend’s Scotland squad.

Burke faces stiff competition if he opts for England with Harlequins Marcus Smith and Northampton Saints’ Fin Smith battling with George Ford for the No10 jersey.

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13 Comments
J
Johnny 71 days ago

There isn’t a hope this fella gets capped by England. He is super rugby level but nowhere near international level for a top 5 side. England have Fin Smith, Marcus Smith and George Ford ahead and better than him. If he throws his hat in with the Scots he might be successful and get afew caps further down the line. Russell, Kinghorn and Healy are superior players in their all round games but he’d get ahead of Hastings and Redpath who are very average.

M
MattJH 71 days ago

Good on him for taking the opportunity, very disappointing for New Zealand though.
Sure he isn’t an international quality 10 right now, but he is still developing.
Remember Jamison Gibson Park? Hardly worth a starting a starting spot in a Super Rugby side, moved to Ireland, became one of the best 9s in the game.
There was something about the environment in Ireland that brought the best out of JGP.
Hopefully Fergus Burke finds something similar at Saracens.
Still, a disappointing loss for New Zealand.

m
monty 72 days ago

Showed promise but 3o games not looked at for abs and not a mention by razor. So hedging the bets he’ll get buried somewhere in the north like the multitude of other wannabes.

D
David 72 days ago

well scott robertson could select him as well

k
kent 72 days ago

So he has a closer link to England, but that won’t put the Scotch off.

J
Jasyn 72 days ago

Given the current lack of quality 10s in NZ and his history with Razor, you’d fancy yourself being in with a shout at least.

Oh well, if no one else wants him Scotland arent one of the most imported teams in rugby for nothing. They’ll take anyone.

E
Ed the Duck 73 days ago

If he plays for England does that mean England have been reduced to mopping up kiwi rejects???

Now, where did Shields, Heinz and Waldrom all come from again…🤔🤣

D
Dan 73 days ago

He'll definitely play for Scotland. Can’t see him getting in ahead of Ford or the Smiths.

And Scotland love selecting Kiwis. Or anyone who isn’t Scottish.

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