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South Sydney prop Tom Burgess.

The open style of Nines football may be geared towards speedy outside backs but England's Tom Burgess says big forwards still have an integral role to play.

Burgess, listed at 120kg on the Rabbitohs website, will represent his country in the inaugural World Cup 9s tournament at Bankwest Stadium on October 18-19.

The prop previously experienced the shorter format with South Sydney in the Auckland Nines club competition and is adamant props can be just as influential as the smaller men.

"I remember when Souths won it [in 2015], [my brother and fellow prop] George was playing and he got in the team of the tournament," Burgess told

"It's just sort of getting those quick play-the-balls and getting the team on the front foot.

"You've really got to think about getting the momentum going and then getting your body in front in defence. But I think it is more of an attacking mindset."

Burgess looking at bigger picture with World Cup Nines

While fewer defenders will undoubtedly suit the fleet-footed stars that fans will be paying to watch, Burgess reckons it could also work in the forwards' favour.

"If you can [run at someone] a bit smaller than you one-on-one, that might be the game plan," Burgess said, adding that backs can then weave their magic after a dominant carry.

The 27-year-old Burgess, who hails from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, is keen to catch up with his countrymen plying their trade in the UK Super League.

"I've played with most of them but there's a few lads I've seen there [that I haven't played with] like Ash Handley, who is coming over from Leeds," Burgess said.

"It's always great to link up at the end of the season."

England captain James Graham, his departing Dragons teammate Gareth Widdop, Roosters winger Ryan Hall and Raiders pair Elliot Whitehead and Ryan Sutton round out the NRL talent in the squad.

Burgess is backing crafty halfback George Williams to thrive in his debut down under as he prepares to join the Raiders next season, highlighting the playmaker's "off-the-cuff" nature as a major strength.

How the inaugural Rugby League World Cup 9s will work

England World Cup 9s squad

James Graham (c) (St George Illawarra), Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Daryl Clark (Warrington), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters), Ash Handley (Leeds), Jack Hughes (Warrington), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Ryan Sutton (Canberra), Sam Tomkins (Catalans), Jake Trueman (Castleford), Liam Watts (Castleford), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra), George Williams (Wigan)


For ticket and travel packages for the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, head to

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