Rabbitohs second-rower Angus Crichton.

Crichton and Burgess reunite in style

At one stage it appeared as though Angus Crichton and Sam Burgess were destined for different sporting journeys, but fate brought them back together in 2016 and the pair have reaped the rewards ever since. 

Crichton – who was an Australian Schoolboys rugby star in his younger days – revealed to NRL.com that he had spoken to the Englishman ahead of South Sydney's qualifying final against the Sea Eagles in 2014 about a possible move to the Rabbitohs and also explained to Burgess some of the intricacies of rugby union ahead of his move to the 15-man code.

"I had a coffee with him and we chatted about a few things," Crichton said of his 2014 one-on-one with Burgess.

"He knew that he was going to union at the time and I was pretty certain that I was going to sign with Souths. He was asking me some questions about union because he hadn't played it much before. 

 


"I played back row my whole life and then in my final year at school I played in the centres which is what Sam played when he made the move back to the UK.

"He wanted to learn more about tackling and what to do in rucks because it's so much different to what he had experienced in league. 

"The whole idea of tackling in league is you want to control the ball and take the player to ground whereas in union you just tackle them around the legs and take them to the ground and that's considered a win."

‌Burgess's time in union didn't last long, with the 2014 Clive Churchill medallist returning to rugby league last season to reunite with his beloved Bunnies. 

Fittingly, the pair combined last Friday to score the opening try with Crichton poking his nose through the line before linking up with the Englishman to touch down next to the posts. 

It was a special evening for the 21-year-old who celebrated his first 80-minute game with his maiden try assist and his first line break since his debut against the Broncos in 2016.  

"It was pretty unreal. We'd been practising it all week at training and a lot of my focus at training is running off Reyno (halfback Adam Reynolds) and getting those lines right and knowing when to cut in and cut out," he said. 

"I think we finally got that combination going on the weekend and it was just a buzz because it was one of my first touches. It was just instinct because I popped my arm out and felt someone pushing up on my inside so I popped the pass. 

"That was the first time I'd played 80 minutes in the NRL so I was stoked to get that under my belt and it gives me plenty of confidence heading into this week. 

"Being a back-rower you always want to play 80. I'm not sure if I necessarily thought about it, but that was definitely my goal, and ever since I came to Souths I've wanted that starting position and I've wanted to pay 80 on a weekly basis."