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Wolves confirm Burrell will switch codes and play Super League

By Ben Spratt
Luther Burrell

Luther Burrell will trade rugby union for rugby league later this year when he joins Super League side Warrington Wolves from Northampton Saints.

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The former England international centre has agreed to a deal to leave Northampton at the end of the Premiership season, joining Wire on July 1.

The 31-year-old has agreed a two-year deal with Warrington and says he is excited to make the move.

“I know I will need to earn the trust of my team-mates first and foremost,” Burrell said. “I also hope to bring some physicality, that edge and the ability to break the line.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play for England in union and to play on some of the biggest stages in finals. I’d like to think I can transfer the experience I have gained into rugby league.

“I’m not here to make up the numbers. I’m coming over and I mean business.”

The Super League outfit see him as a 2020 season replacement for Ryan Atkins, the 33-year-old who is in his testimonial year at the club.

League isn’t an alien rugby code for Burrell. He played for Huddersfield Giants growing up before embarking on a successful union career that saw him play for Leeds and Sale before his 2012 switch to Northampton catapulted him into the England frame.

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Burrell has accumulated 158 appearances to date since arriving in Northampton from Sale Sharks ahead of the 2012/13 season, scoring 29 tries.

In his debut season the Huddersfield-born midfielder helped guide Saints all the way to the Premiership final against Leicester Tigers, before the side went one better the following campaign and claimed a historic double success in the Premiership and European Challenge Cup.

Burrell started both finals as Northampton scooped both trophies in the space of eight days, and 2014 also saw him break into international contention as he was called up for England’s Six Nations campaign.

He went on to earn 15 caps for his country, last featuring for the Red Rose in Australia as England secured a historic 3-0 series win over the Wallabies.

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Sean Fitzpatrick on England and Ireland World Cup threats:

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finn 10 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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