Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sam Burgess will be back from injury earlier than originally anticipated, England have announced.
The South Sydney forward was helped from the field with knee medial ligament damage 35 minutes into England’s 18-4 defeat by Australia in their opening World Cup match in Melbourne on Friday.
England coach Wayne Bennett said in the post-match press conference that he expected Burgess to be sidelined for three or four weeks but a spokesman said on Saturday: ” Following a further review of the injury, England medical staff and specialists can confirm Burgess will be back in the playing squad earlier than anticipated.”
Burgess watched the second half of Friday’s game from the dug-out with his knee in a brace and was sent to see a specialist before the team flew out of Melbourne.
The latest news is a significant boost for England as they seek to bounce back from their opening defeat by the Kangaroos.
Although Bennett was delighted with the way his side coped in the absence of Burgess in the second half at AAMI Park, his likely availability will be welcomed as England eye a potential quarter-final against Papua New Guinea, followed by a semi-final against New Zealand in Auckland.
Bennett said: “It was a blow to lose Sam so early in the game against Australia but the team coped and competed against the number one side in the competition.
“He’ll be a loss but we expect to see him back soon in the next few weeks and pushing for a place in the squad as we aim to make the quarter and semi-finals.
“Sam’s a tough player and he will be doing everything required of him to get fit again. We’ve got a good team here and everyone is behind each other, on and off the field.”