Burrow's dream come true
Scrum-half finally gets chance to play world champions
Last Updated: 28/10/08 4:08pm
England's Rob Burrow has said that walking out on to the pitch at Melbourne's Telsta Dome to play Australia in the World Cup this weekend will be the fulfilment of a childhood dream.
The Leeds scrum-half has already enjoyed plenty of success, not least as an integral part of the Rhinos' back-to-back Super League-winning side, but an appearance for his country against the world champions has had to wait.
Burrow toured Australia with Great Britain two years ago but had to sit back while Sean Long and club-mate Danny McGuire played against the Kangaroos.
However, having since risen to prominence at number seven and, as a consequence, been named as the only specialist number seven in coach Tony Smith's 24-strong squad, Burrow can finally test himself at the highest level of all.
"As a kid you want to play against Australia," said Burrow, who was player of the series in Great Britain's whitewash of New Zealand last year.
"I've never really had the chance to play against them in a Test match so to finally get the opportunity to test yourself against the best in the world is every kid's dream."
Smith will announce his team to play Australia on Wednesday and Burrow will doubtless be one of the first names on the sheet.
His opposite number is likely to be Johnathan Thurston, man of the match in the Kangaroos' opening 30-6 win over New Zealand, and yet currently struggling with a shoulder injury.
"He's a world-class player, there is no doubt about that, but right across the park they have world-class talent," Burrow said. "I'm relishing the opportunity to test myself against them."
Thurston is expected to win his race to be fit but Australia utility back Kurt Gidley has been ruled out.
And, after starring against Papua New Guinea on Saturday, a foot injury means that England winger Lee Smith is almost certain to join him on the sidelines.
"I'll be gutted for him if he misses out but he's got many years in the game," Burrow said of his Leeds team-mate.
"I knew he was an amazing talent the first time I saw him and it was fantastic for him to score a hat-trick of tries on his debut."
Smith's scoring feat was one of the few highlights of a patchy England performance in Townsville.
But Burrow is confident they can improve sufficiently and perhaps even spring a surprise against Australia.
"We've addressed what happened against Papua and started to put things right," he added.
"The first couple of sessions this week have gone great and, if we can take that into the game, we will be fine."