Russell Crowe backs Sam Burgess for England senior call-up

Sam Burgess in action for England Saxons
Burgess persuaded his brothers Luke, Tom and George to join him at the Rabbitohs
World Club Series: St Helens v South Sydney
Venue: Langtree Park Date: Sunday, 22 February 19:00 GMT Coverage: Live text coverage on the BBC Sport website, full commentary on BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC 5 live Sports Extra

Russell Crowe says Bath's former rugby league star Sam Burgess should be in Stuart Lancaster's England squad.

Oscar-winning actor Crowe is in England for rugby league's World Club Series as part-owner of South Sydney Rabbitohs - who play St Helens on Sunday.

Crowe said: "If I was anything to do with the English rugby union I would just select him in the squad."

Burgess, 26, played for South Sydney Rabbitohs for four years before switching codes in November.

Despite suffering a fractured cheekbone and eye socket after only six seconds, the former England rugby league forward, who plays at centre for Bath, produced a man-of-the-match display as the Rabbitohs beat Canterbury Bulldogs to win Australia's National Rugby League title in October last year.

It was his final appearance for the club.

Sam Burgess profile
Sam Burgess made his professional rugby league debut with Bradford Bulls in 2006, going on to score 17 tries in 88 matches for the club. Four years later, he headed to Australia to play for South Sydney Rabbitohs, playing 95 matches and scoring 26 tries. He returned to England last winter, switching codes and joining Bath.

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Burgess injures cheekbone in Grand Final

After switching codes, Burgess spoke of his ambition to play for the national team and said he would "love to be a part" of this year's World Cup in England and Wales.

Earlier this month Burgess was fast-tracked into the England Saxons side and played in a 18-9 win against the Irish Wolfhounds just 63 days after making his debut for Bath.

He is not in England's Six Nations squad but spent two days training with the senior side before England's 21-16 win against Wales in Cardiff.

"He is a very fast learner," Crowe added. "You want the top 30 athletes in that sport to be representing your country. He has to be in the top 30 athletes in rugby union right now.

"Sam is a son of South Sydney. He is a South Sydney warrior. There is no way to remove his heart from our club or him from our hearts. Never bet against Sam Burgess in the face of a challenge."

Russell Crowe and Sam Burgess
Crowe on Burgess: "Sam is a son of South Sydney. He is a South Sydney warrior."

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