Burgess wins international award

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Sam Burgess has become the first English winner of the Rugby League International Federation’s International Player of the Year Award at a function in Australia.

Burgess, who defied a fractured eye socket and cheekbone to help South Sydney to victory in the NRL Grand Final, received the prestigious award at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane, where the 2014 Four Nations Series gets under way without him on Saturday.

The former Bradford forward will link up with Bath next week ahead of his cross-code switch, although he will not be able to make his rugby union debut until December as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in the first tackle of the match against Canterbury Bulldogs earlier this month.

Burgess was chosen by a panel of 10 judges from a group of nominees which included former St Helens prop James Graham, who will lead England against Samoa at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, Dally M Medal winners Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne and Super League Man of Steel Daryl Clark.

“Sam was wonderful for England in the World Cup last year and his performances for South Sydney through the NRL season were first class, all the way to his Clive Churchill Medal effort in the Grand Final against Canterbury-Bankstown,” RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said.

“He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition.”

Past winners of the award, which is not to be confused with the Golden Boot, are: 2008 Billy Slater (Australia), 2009 Jarryd Hayne (Australia), 2010 Todd Carney (Australia), 2011 Billy Slater (Australia), 2012 Cameron Smith (Australia), 2013 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand).

Individual nations player-of-the-year awards went to:

Cook Islands: Dominique Peyroux; Fiji: Semi Radradra; France: Remi Casty; Ireland: Liam Finn; Jamaica: Nathan Campbell; Lebanon: Chris Saab; Papua New Guinea: Israel Eliab; Russia: Kirill Kosharin; Samoa: David Fa’alogo; Scotland: Matty Russell; Serbia: Stefan Nedeljkovic; South Africa: Ruaan du Preez; Tonga: Jason Taumalolo; Ukraine: Oleksandr Skorbach; Wales: Rhys Evans; United States: Joseph Paulo; Canada: Steve Piatek.

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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