World Cup experience ‘surreal’ for Saints star Burrell

Northampton Saints v London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership at Franklins Gardens.'Luther Burrell NNL-151005-093624009
Northampton Saints v London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership at Franklins Gardens.'Luther Burrell NNL-151005-093624009

A photo taken back in 2003 was all it took to remind Luther Burrell of just how far he has come.

The Saints centre is currently ensconced in England training as preparations for the World Cup on home soil intensify.

Stuart Lancaster’s men will bid to emulate the team of 12 years ago, when the red rose reigned in Australia, bringing home the trophy.

Back then, Burrell was an aspiring rugby player, strutting his stuff for Huddersfield.

And a recent trip to his parents house during a rare day off from the ‘brutal’ training gave him a helpful boost.

Burrell explained: “I had a bit of down time a couple of weeks ago and I went back to Huddersfield to see my parents and my mum pulled out a dusty old photograph of me when I used to play for Huddersfield back in 2003.

“It was when the lads had won the World Cup so the trophy was going around the country and there’s a picture of me stood with the World Cup, and I’m now pressing to be part of a team that wants to win it.

“It’s something that at that point I could only have dreamed of, and to look back then I would’ve given my right arm to be playing at a World Cup, but it’s going to be up to the coaches to choose who they want to select.

“The whole experience is quite surreal actually.”

Burrell’s move from Sale Sharks to Saints put him in position for a tilt at international honours.

He has come a long way since moving to Franklin’s Gardens in the summer of 2012 and the 27-year-old now has 12 England caps to his name.

‘’It just comes with experience,” said Burrell, who has been given this weekend off as England hand fringe players the chance to impress against France in a World Cup warm-up match.

“I’ve got a few England caps now and it’s just about composure when it comes to the big games.

“I’m really excited about hopefully being able to get back to Twickenham. It’s going to be exciting.”