SBW: ‘Burgess criticism is wrong’

Date published: February 1 2015

From one cross-code convert to another, Sonny Bill Williams has labelled any criticism of Sam Burgess’ progress in Union as ‘wrong’.

Williams has been a success in both codes of the sport, winning a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs and the Rugby World Cup with New Zealand in 2011.

Burgess was criticised for his performance in the England Saxons win over the Irish Wolfhounds on Friday, have played just eight matches in his new sport.

Williams noted that the early reactions to his switch back in 2008 had been similarly poor and backed Burgess to make England’s squad for the RWC, probably as an inside centre.

“That is where everyone is wrong,” Williams told RugbyHeaven.

“They just have to be patient. Sam is a world-class athlete and I have got no doubt that whether he makes it at number 12 or number six he is going to make it.

“It just depends on how long it is going to take him because the subtleties of the two games are totally different and myself, I think he would be a perfect blindside but I think for World Cup calculations he will probably fit in better into the England squad at inside centre.

“I am no expert but, like I said, he is a world-class athlete, he has got a hard work ethic and he will be hurting after performances like that if he didn’t play too well but never back against someone of his talent.

“It is just like Israel Folau. I am sure in his first couple of games he was getting bagged a little bit and now look at where he is.”