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.
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.
That’s the feeling I’ve craved for 18months!! @FalconsRugby great effort and proud to make my premiership debut for this club!!
— Luther Burrell (@lutherburrell) November 21, 2020
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.”
“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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