Wallabies support grows for Luke Burgess - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies support grows for Luke Burgess

By Darren Walton 24/04/2008 04:22:44 PM Comments (0)

The big push for Luke Burgess to be the next Wallabies halfback continued on Thursday, with NSW Waratahs five-eighth Kurtley Beale urging selectors to "give the young guys a go".

After four frustrating years as George Gregan's understudy at the Brumbies, Burgess has suddenly burst into Wallabies contention after seizing the Waratahs No.9 jumper from Brett Sheehan just three weeks ago.

His man-of-the-match display in NSW's 26-3 Super 14 victory over the Lions last Saturday night in particular attracted rave reviews, with Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri and former World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones both anointing the 24-year-old as Gregan's heir apparent.

Now Beale has joined the groundswell of support for his Waratahs teammate, hailing Burgess as Australian rugby's form halfback.

"I don't think there's any more nines out there (playing better)," Beale said.

"Obviously you've got Brett Sheehan, who was there before, Josh Valentine ... I just think personally it's time to give the young guys a go - and Burgy's definitely there.

"He's just an exciting player. He's got a lot of energy about him, he's got a lot of skill and a lot of speed off the mark."

Farr-Jones and Tuqiri are both adamant Burgess is ready for Test rugby.

"He's got great decision-making, he's got the speed, he'll attract defences close to rucks and mauls" Farr-Jones said.

"It really, with no criticism of Gregan, is something that we haven't had for the last couple of years."

Tuqiri claimed in his Sunday newspaper column that "Luke Burgess is the player who can become Australia's next long-term scrumbase general".

"He's still got the L-plates on at the moment, but give this bloke more time and I reckon he can be a special talent."

NSW coach Ewen McKenzie said his rookie half had been superb for the Waratahs, whose first bonus-point victory this season coincided with Burgess's promotion to the starting side against the Blues in round eight after several games warming the bench.

"He's done a great job. He's done exactly what he thought he might do. It's always good when you put a player in and they return the compliment," McKenzie said.

"He's a terrific player, a terrific guy and adds a lot to the squad on and off the field.

"We just want him to keep playing consistently every week. What happens after that is up to someone else. I'm not a Wallaby selector.

"But we like to think that all the players that we bring into the Waratahs have Wallaby potential, so I'm glad that they're talking about him in that context.

"I hope they talk about more of our players in that same context."

The closest Burgess has come to Wallabies selection was in 2006 when he gained a place in the train-on squad for the Tri Nations series.

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