Sam Burgess reveals Russell Crowe gave blessing to Warrington move

Sam Burgess revealed he was given the blessing of Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe to leave Australia behind and pursue his first head coach role at Warrington.

Burgess enjoyed two successful playing stints at South Sydney Rabbitohs, the NRL club Crowe co-owns, and the ex-dual code England international stayed on as assistant after hanging up his boots in 2019.

The pair remain close and Burgess admitted he sounded out the A-list star and listened to the advice of mother Julie, plus brothers Luke, Tom and George, before signing a two-year deal with Wolves.

Sam Burgess, left, and Hollywood actor Russell Crowe remain close (Martin Rickett/PA)
Sam Burgess, left, and Hollywood actor Russell Crowe remain close (Martin Rickett/PA)

Warrington have endured a couple of challenging seasons but owner Simon Moran and chairman Stuart Middleton have backed Burgess, who was named the permanent successor to Daryl Powell in August.

Burgess said: “I’ve got Russell who I have known for a long time. I speak to him weekly. We are great friends. He just urged me to be myself and enjoy the ride. He was very encouraging.

“He is good friends with Simon, they have a great relationship, so they had spoken in the background. Russell’s guidance was that Warrington have a strong position in the community. He is huge on that.

“But I lean on a lot of different people. Some other great friends. My brothers and my mum are great counsel.

“I am not going to copy or be anyone else. I will manage it my own way. But there will be things that I’ll ask for advice on or lean on a couple of people that have done it for a number of years.”

Burgess batted away suggestions Kevin Sinfield could join Warrington as an assistant, amid speculation the Leeds Rhinos great could leave his job as England rugby union defence coach after the World Cup.

The 34-year-old, who says his coaching team is fully in place, said: “I’ve not heard anything about that.

“I’ve spoken to Kevin. That’s it. We are going to catch-up for a coffee. But I’ve not said anything about coming to Warrington. That’s a good rumour.”

England Team Run – Rugby World Cup 2023 – INSEP – Wednesday 25th October
England defence coach Kevin Sinfield during the team run at the INSEP in Paris, France. Picture date: Wednesday October 25, 2023.

Burgess is set to become Super League’s youngest head coach but he insisted neither his age nor his considerable profile will have any bearing on how he will approach this latest challenge.

He added: “It’s all external for me. I think I was the youngest Super League player at some point as well. It just comes and goes. It’s part of the job. I don’t see myself as a young coach.

“The recognisable stuff is not going to help me coach. You’ve got to do your job and connect with the players and grow that stuff. I have a good feeling about it. I won’t make any bold statements.

“It’s not going to help the team. It’s not going to help me. We have plenty of hard work to do between now and the start of the year.”