What's the Story? Jamie Peacock backs Sam Burgess to make the 2015 World Cup

Last Updated: 27/02/14 1:12pm

Jamie Peacock says the challenges that Sam Burgess has overcome in his life have made him into a once in a generation player capable of transcending the differences between the two codes.

Burgess announced last week that he will be swapping codes later in the year, leaving NRL side Sydney Rabbitohs to join Aviva Premiership side Bath.

"He lost his dad at 16, he moved to Australia at 18 to play in the world's toughest competition - this guy is as mentally tough as anyone I have seen."

Jamie Peacock

The 25-year-old is targeting a place in England's squad for the rugby union World Cup in 2015 and Peacock is confident his former team-mate at Bradford Bulls will be a huge success in rugby union.

"You get world-class players and then you get a class above, generational players, and Sam is one of them," Peacock told What's the Story?

"He is a stand-out forward in rugby league, he was the best player at the World Cup but now he has decided to try his hand at rugby union instead.

"The international scene is not so big in rugby league. The World Cup was probably the pinnacle when they played in front of 65,000 at Wembley. That is as good as it gets at the moment within international rugby league. We have seen in rugby union that the international calendar is huge.

"They get 80,000 every week at Twickenham and then the potential of playing in a home World Cup - that has made him make the move.

"I believe that he will come back to rugby league again. That is where his heart is but he has decided to follow some other ambitions in rugby union at the moment.

"I think he will make it. I just think that physically there is no one like him in rugby with the power and agility he has got.

"The top two inches are the most important thing for Sam Burgess. He lost his dad at 16, he moved to Australia at 18 to play in the world's toughest competition - this guy is as mentally tough as anyone I have seen.

"He is as focused as I have ever seen and his will to win is the best that I have played alongside. I believe he has every chance of making it because of that."

Game changers

England hockey international Alex Danson, who won Olympic bronze with team GB in 2012, believes more and more athletes will move between different sports thanks to talent identification programmes and the competitive psyche of performers.

"We have had two of our team from the London Games - Nat Seymour has gone into triathlon, and she is knocking on the Great Britain doors, and we have Chloe Rodgers, who is playing off scratch in golf. The skills are so transferable," she said.

"The talent identification processes are allowing athletes to think about what they could possibly do and that is such a lure. And there is funding as well.

"If there is the opportunity, we are all competitive, and I can see why people transfer across."