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Best of Sam Burgess yet to come, says Jason Robinson

Published 09/09/2015

Former England star Jason Robinson has no doubt that Sam Burgess will want to make his mark at the World Cup
Former England star Jason Robinson has no doubt that Sam Burgess will want to make his mark at the World Cup

World Cup winner Jason Robinson believes Sam Burgess will have every intention of making England's starting line-up when the tournament starts next week.

Burgess, despite switching from rugby league to union less than a year ago, was among four centres named in England boss Stuart Lancaster's final 31-man World Cup squad and featured during recent warm-up games against France and Ireland.

Robinson quit league for union 15 years ago, and it proved to be with dazzling effect as he went on to score 28 England tries in 51 Tests, played in two World Cup finals and toured twice with the British and Irish Lions.

Burgess has followed a similar sporting journey to Robinson, albeit via an NRL Grand Final-winning season with South Sydney Rabbitohs, and Robinson thinks the Yorkshireman's fierce ambition shines through.

"Sam will be looking to make an impact," Robinson told Press Association Sport.

"Getting into the squad is a massive achievement already, but he won't be satisfied with that, he will want to make the starting XV.

"He has that mentality where he wants to succeed, he wants to be the best and he wants to compete against the best. To get to this stage in such a short space of time is a great achievement.

"He will certainly want to make an impact, and it will be interesting to see how he goes. I don't think we have seen the best of him yet - there is a lot more to come.

"Yes, he might be new to the game and not have the same knowledge as other people, but he has got to make up for that with the things that he can bring.

"They have talked about how he is in training, what he has brought - his leadership qualities. That will make a difference, especially in a squad that has got quite a bit of inexperience.

"He can be one of those players that makes a difference, and I am sure we will see it over the next six or seven weeks."

England open their World Cup campaign against Fiji a week on Friday, although quarter-final ambitions look set to rest on the outcome of later Pool A appointments with Wales and Australia.

If England reach the final on October 31, six of their seven games will have been at Twickenham, and Robinson added: "As a player, what an opportunity this is - the biggest World Cup ever, and an opportunity to do something special.

"I played in three World Cup finals (two union and one league), so I know the journey.

"I know what the guys are feeling, I know the pressure is on them, but there is also the excitement. To test yourself against the best players in the world is where you want to be.

"It could bring extra pressure because you are the host nation, but what you want to do as a player is thrive off it."

And assessing England's group, Robinson, who was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, said: "In order to win a World Cup you have to play against the best players and the best teams, and you have to beat them.

"England are playing these teams on home soil at Twickenham, which should give them a bit of an edge. That said, Wales know they can beat England and Australia know they can beat England. It's on the day."

* Jason Robinson is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover is recruiting all 96 official mascots for Rugby World Cup 2015 as part of its 'We Deal In Real' campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal

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