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Sam Burgess calls out Rob Andrew over World Cup criticism

By Peter Hanson
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Sam Burgess has told Rob Andrew to “pick up a phone and call me” after the former RFU director reiterated his claim that selecting the rugby league convert was behind England’s failure at the rugby union World Cup.


Stuart Lancaster’s decision to name Burgess in England’s squad for the 2015 tournament despite his limited experience in the 15-man format was met with surprise, and when the hosts failed to make it out of the group stages the critics’ knives were sharpened.

In his new book, Andrew claimed Burgess’ inclusion had a “negative effect” and, speaking to BBC Breakfast, repeated his view that it was a “risk” from then head coach Lancaster.

“I think there’s been a lot of focus on the one page [of the book] on Sam Burgess – there’s a lot of other stuff around the World Cup,” he said.

“I think the issue was, and my big comment around it, is that head coaches get judged on their results and they have to make decisions around selection and Sam Burgess was a massive decision. And it’s not just blaming Sam, it wasn’t Sam’s fault that he was picked to play for England.

“But it changed the dynamic of that squad going into a World Cup and head coaches live or die by the decisions they take – and we didn’t get out of our group in a home World Cup.

“It was a massive risk, a massive decision Stuart took and it didn’t pay off.

“He [Lancaster] did such a lot of good work and then a few decisions – and in the biggest tournament in our sport – went wrong in a home World Cup.”


But Burgess has taken exception to Andrew’s comments and called out the former fly-half on Twitter.

He wrote: “I think Rob Andrew should pick up the phone and call me.”

The tweet received the support of Australia international Matt Giteau, who said the Wallabies had put plenty of work into finding a way to counter Burgess.

“Mate you were a challenge for me at that World Cup. A lot of review time spent on you. He is off the mark by a long way,” Giteau wrote.


Replying to Giteau, Burgess commented: “Legend. Anyhow, hope you’re well pal, look forward to catching up when you’re back in Aus. Hope family are well lad.”


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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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