Sam Burgess wins International Player of the Year award

Rugby union-bound Sam Burgess capped off a successful season by winning rugby league’s International Player of the Year award.

In his final match before defecting to the 15-man game with Bath, Burgess courageously guided the South Sydney Rabbitohs to their first NRL title in 43 years.

The Englishman played the entire grand final against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs with a fractured cheekbone but still managed to inspire the Rabbitohs to victory earlier this month, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the process.

And now the 25-year-old will return back home to England with rugby league’s highest individual honour after edging out James Graham, Dally M Medal winners Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne, and Man of Steel recipient Daryl Clarke at a function in Brisbane.

“Sam was wonderful for England in the World Cup last year and his performances for South Sydney through the NRL season were first-class, all the way to his Clive Churchill Medal effort in the grand final against Canterbury-Bankstown,” RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said.

“He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition.”

Burgess also becomes the first Englishman to scoop the award, with New Zealander Sonny Bill Williams, and Australians Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Todd Carney and Hayne the previous winners.

2008 Billy Slater (Australia)
2009 Jarryd Hayne (Australia)
2010 Todd Carney (Australia)
2011 Billy Slater (Australia)
2012 Cameron Smith (Australia)
2013 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)
2014 Sam Burgess (England)

Cook Islands Dominique Peyroux
Fiji Semi Radradra
France Rémi Casty
Ireland Liam Finn
Jamaica Nathan Campbell
Lebanon Chris Saab
PNG Israel Eliab
Russia Kirill Kosharin
Samoa David Fa’alogo
Scotland Matty Russell
Serbia Stefan Nedeljkovic
South Africa Ruaan du Preez
Tonga Jason Taumalolo
Ukraine Oleksandr Skorbach
Wales Rhys Evans
USA Joseph Paulo
Canada Steve Piatek