Burgess 'ranked third' for No.9 jersey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Burgess 'ranked third' for No.9 jersey

By Samantha Broun 13/10/2008 04:33:47 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies halfback Luke Burgess rates himself as the third choice No.9 in the current Australian squad as he prepares to take the next step in his return from injury.

The scrumhalf, who missed the bulk of the Tri-Nations series with a knee injury, will resume full contact training this week after rating his knee at "almost 100 per cent".

Even once he regains full fitness, Burgess believes there's no guarantee of his selection in the starting XV for the Spring Tour, and admits he has a lot of hard work in front of him if he's to wrest back the No.9 jersey from incumbent half Sam Cordingley.

"I think assumption is the mother of all stuff ups, so I'm certainly not assuming anything," the six-Test rookie told AAP.

"I'm coming in as probably number three at the moment, behind Sam (Cordingley) and Brett (Sheehan) so it's important that I work as hard as I can and just contribute.

"I think he (Sam) played brilliantly (in my absence), his passing is superb, it's so much technically better than mine, and his game management, his experience, his kicking and his overall talk and knowledge is fantastic, he's performed amazingly well."

Burgess has used his time on the sidelines to take a harsh look at his own game and is keen to tweak areas he's identified as "weak".

"I need to improve my kicking and my overall game management as a halfback," he said.

"I've possibly let myself down with some skill areas in my passing here and there but that's par for the course.

"Being able to continue to challenge myself is what I'm aiming for. I certainly feel more confident with every Test."

Cordingley, meanwhile, is preparing for his final tour with the Wallabies, starting with the fourth and final Bledisloe Test in Hong Kong on November 1 followed by Tests against Italy, England, France and Wales.

And the 32-year-old veteran isn't going to relinquish the halfback jersey without a fight, especially after experiencing his run-on debut against the All Blacks in Brisbane in what was his last Test on Australian soil.

"It's obviously going to come down to what the selectors want," said Cordingley, who has 19 caps, 13 of which have come from the bench.

"I'd imagine there's a distinct possibility that he'll (Burgess) be getting a fair bit of game time given the fact that I'll be heading overseas (to France) after this trip.

"That's the reality of it. He's the young guy, I'm the old guy and if there's an opportunity for me to start another Test that would be great and hopefully there is.

"I'm doing as much work as I can here to hold that Test No.9 and we'll see what (coach Robbie Deans) and the selectors think."

Despite the fierce rivalry for the starting guernsey, Cordingley said he has a good relationship with Burgess.

"At the end of the day, the best way I can be of assistance to him (Burgess) is to be as competitive as I can," he said.

" ... If I'm doing that and pushing him at training and he's doing the same to me, then hopefully he's going to become a better halfback.

"We've got a pretty good relationship ... I'm there for him if he wants to ask any questions and I point him in the right direction when I see the opportunity.

" ... But I want to start as many Tests as he does."

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