Joe Burgess not giving up on World Cup dream with England just yet

Wigan star Joe Burgess said he was delighted to meet royalty after Prince Harry visited the England Elite Performance Squad last week.

Prince Harry became the Patron of the Rugby Football League in December last year, carrying out his first official engagement at a Sky Try festival at Headingley in July, where he was shown the ropes by the RFL’s Rugby Director Kevin Sinfield.

And last Monday the Prince met Wayne Bennett’s England squad in Manchester, with Burgess admitting that the squad appreciate being supported by Prince Harry. “It was a mad experience,” Burgess told League Express.

“If I’m honest I thought he might have been a bit stuck-up, but he was just a lad’s lad with a posh accent really. There was a lot of security there when we turned up, so we had an inkling that it was going to be somebody high up or pretty big who we were seeing.

“I wasn’t actually that nervous speaking to him. I wasn’t too bad, I just treated him like any other bloke really. It was more of a group chat with him rather than a personal one. We talked about the World Cup and stuff, but he was just backing us to do well. It was the first time I had met him or any of the Royal Family, so it was good to meet him.”

Burgess spent a year in Australia in 2016 playing for Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs respectively, but only played 15 competitive games. Wayne Bennett is yet to pick his final squad that will fly out to the other side of the globe or the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

But, if picked, he admits that he would be keen to prove the doubters wrong in Australia. “I sort of undersold myself really when I played in Australia,” the 22-year-old added.

“So I would love to go there and prove a point in a way so the World Cup is massive for me. “Hopefully I’ll get picked, but there is a job to do with Wigan first, so perhaps the World Cup will fly on the back of that one.”

The former Ince Rose Bridge junior was a late drop-out of Shaun Wane’s Wigan squad that beat Hull FC 30-22 at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night. But Burgess revealed that the groin injury he picked up isn’t thought to be major.

“It was just a niggle on my groin,” the Wigan star said.  “I did it earlier in the week, so I was always going to be pushing for that game, but I just wanted to see how I would get on in the warm-up. “I pulled myself out, but I should be alright for Castleford. It’s nothing too serious.”