O2 Sports (yes the phone people) have kick started a great new initiative this week labelled the ‘Rose Army’ – And while it will clearly raise awareness of their brand it is also going to highlight the huge following and passion around the happenings starting in September – less than 50 days I do believe. 100 rugby mad, social media savvy rugby mad people have been ‘recruited’ to promote the ‘Wear The Rose’ campaign and lift support.
Via the initiative (which I’m involved in) here’s the first of what could be a few opinion pieces from a member of the Rose Army – Mike Jones – a short bio then his views on one Sam Burgess. (oh and sorry I just had to add my photo with Sam! I crushed small children to get that!)
Mike Jones – rugby mad, Rose Army Man
‘I was born in Dudley and got into rugby Union early on – Dad played for Wasps amateaurs. I started to play for Worcester Warriors from age 16-18, and then got offered to play some league so played for Warrington Wolves Super League under 21’s but unfortunately a broken back put my career to a halt
After a year out I returned to play Union in National 2, but unfortunately strains on the body meant retiring at 26.
Now I live in London and work in Recruitment, and cannot wait for the World Cup to start!’
Give ’em Hell Sam!
I have heard a lot lately about Sam Burgess. Can he play at International Level? My answer ‘absobloominlutely’
This brute of a Yorkshireman, 6ft 5 and 18 stone (Jonah Lomu size), has not long come over to Rugby Union from Rugby League and has been thrust into the limelight, as there were large sums of money involved in the move. During Sam’s first season he didn’t set the world on fire while playing with Bath.
Not only is Sam learning the game but also learning which position suits him. I am still unsure where he is best, 6, 12, or even 13, but my argument would be, just get him in the side and let him loose.
There is no doubt in my mind that this man possesses the talents to send him to superstardom in Rugby Union. While I appreciate Union is a difficult game to learn, especially coming from the straight up running, bone crunching style of Rugby League, Sam’s basic skills – Running, Catching, Tackling, Passing, Offloading are as good as any in the professional game.
Those who watched him in his Rugby League days will know that his offload rate was actually higher than Sonny Bill-Williams (a man feared worldwide for his offloading ability) in his final season of League.
There are some that are saying that Burgess is ‘just a battering ram’ and my response to that is ‘so what?’. Are you telling me our rather slender backline are going to dance around New Zealand in a World Cup Final? I think not. It would be then that I’d look to big Sam and say ‘hit em up the middle and get your hands free’, that’s where he will do the damage.
I am a firm believer that sometimes in Rugby, you just need a big brute to run at the heart of the opposition and be that battering ram. That person for England is Sam Burgess. The man is as tough as they come – case in point NRL Grand Final Sam broke his cheekbone in minute 1. He then played the other 79 minutes at a pace and with the power that would get the White Walkers running, ending with a man of the match performance and a unbelievable win.
Anyone with that strength of character, that mind set, that ability, has to be in our team. I believe Sam can be the difference between a meek exit at the Quarter Final and battling for the William Webb Ellis trophy in an epic final.
Sam starts against France this weekend and I for one cannot wait to watch this man on an International Level. France have had a lot of success when Mathieu Bastareaud is in the side, they get a lot of ‘go forward’ from him and he causes International defences problems. I think they are actually fairly similar players, however Burgess is 10 times the athlete that Bastareaud is.
I know that a lot of League players have come to Union and flopped, but this guy is my one to watch for the World Cup, he is a different animal altogether. Strong as an Ox, quick on his feet, and can free his hands quicker than Houdini. Give ‘em Hell Sam and then bring that trophy home.