He may be an Englishman, but Sam Burgess is as excited about the upcoming State of Origin Series as anyone – especially given that his good mate and halfback Adam Reynolds will this year wear the sky blue of New South Wales for the very first time.
Speaking before Reynolds’ selection, Burgess backed the sharp-shooter for a spot, but not because of his goal-kicking ability – although that in itself is impressive.
"I've always been a huge fan of Adam's and he's never been given a shot,” Burgess told Triple M over the weekend.
“I think he could handle it – of course he could. He’s been playing as good as he can do.
“What Adam can do as well is defend very well, which Origin is all about, and a few repeat sets here and there is what you need from your half in Origin level.”
Burgess isn’t wrong. Aside from his uncanny ability to force repeat-sets with well-weighted kicks, Reynolds doesn’t shy away from the defensive work-load, despite his slight build.
Standing at just 173cm and weighing in it 85kg, the Souths Junior is consistently among Souths’ top-tacklers – tallying up 21 in last Thursday’s victory over the Dragons, in addition to scoring his milestone 800th career point.
The Englishman also added that Reynolds has the potential to grow in the Origin arena when it comes to his running game.
With a forward pack that will boast the likes of James Tamou, Paul Gallen and many other experts in the art of going forward, Burgess foresees plenty of room for his teammate to move in while wearing the famous number seven sky blue jersey – a jersey that has been worn by greats of the game such as Andrew Johns, Peter Sterling and Steve Mortimer.
“The last few weeks we’ve seen a bit more of him running,” said Burgess of Reynolds’ recent exploits for the Rabbitohs.
“He’s certainly practicing a bit more on his game at training, so I think it’s one of those things we’ll see progress in time.
"I think he's ready and the pressure certainly doesn't faze him as we saw last week against Parramatta with 25,000 people screaming at him, and he managed to slot the goal right over the sticks – whatever happens, happens, and he’ll do a good job.”
Stay tuned to Rabbitohs.com.au for more from the 2016 State of Origin Series.