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Slimmed down Burrell happy to be back in rugby union

By Josh Raisey
Luther Burrell (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Luther Burrell marked his return to rugby union with a win on Saturday, as the newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons beat Bath 19-12 at the Rec.

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The 15-cap England centre joined Warrington Wolves from Northampton Saints in 2019, and went on to play eight Super League games across the 2019 and 2020 seasons before making the switch back to union to join Newcastle in September.

He said “that’s the feeling I’ve been craving for 18 months,” on Twitter after making his Premiership debut for the Falcons.

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James Ryan’s honest assessment of the loss to England:

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James Ryan’s honest assessment of the loss to England:

Burrell started at outside centre in the victory, partnering Toby Flood in the midfield, in what was a promising start to the season for Dean Richards’ side.

The 32-year-old seems as determined as ever to make his mark on the team, and has shown no desire to simply make up the numbers at Kingston Park. He also feels his time in league will benefit his career in union.

“My endurance, fitness levels and aspects of my skill set are definitely better as a result of my time with Warrington,” he previously said as he looked ahead to his new stint in union.

“Rugby league guys really pride themselves on doing the unseen work. I’ve bought into that, I’ve got a better engine and I’m now able to apply myself more effectively around the field.”

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“I’ve got no regrets about going over to league, because it was the fresh challenge that I needed at the time. I’ll look back on it as a positive experience – I wanted to test myself, and I think I’ll come back as a better player for it.”

The former Leeds, Sale Sharks and Northampton centre has also said that he is now roughly 8kg lighter than he was in his previous spell in union, and now feels he is at an “ideal size” at 104kg.

“I was a lot heavier when I played union the first time round – somewhere around 112kg – and I dropped down to around 101-ish. I’m now up to 104kg, which I think is going to be my ideal size, and I’m just excited about bringing that aspect of my game into union. “I’ve got no regrets about going over to league, because it was the fresh challenge that I needed at the time. I’ll look back on it as a positive experience – I wanted to test myself, and I think I’ll come back as a better player for it.”

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M
Mzilikazi 8 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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