I had a dream the other night.
In all honesty, it was more of a quasi-religious-stroke-rugby nightmare.
In my dream Sam Burgess had become the New Messiah — the New Rugby Messiah.
And the worst part was, the following day it became true.
He has his disciples, of course, led by St Lancaster, aided and abetted by St Roundtree, St Farrell (senior) and a motley bunch of rugby journos of whom only St Jones of The Sunday Times — aka Judas — had the vision to denounce him.
But in order to rubber-stamp his inclusion in the England squad, St Lancaster took The Messiah down to Putney and said: “Look it’s a bit of a cheek, Sam, but would you mind terribly strolling across the Thames to the other side?”
The Messiah duly obliged, and was rewarded by inclusion in the final 31 at the expense of some pretty decent centres who could well have helped England lift their second World Cup. Players like Luther Burrell, Kyle Eastmond and even Manu Tiulagi, the latter a rapier compared to the blunt instrument that is The Messiah.
And what about poor old “Thirty-six”? Although it’s probably pushing the boundaries of credibility to see Billy Twelvetrees run out against Southern Hemisphere opposition.
But then we learn — although, to be fair, this is probably just media spin— that The Messiah isn’t actually in the squad to play — although he may get off the bench against Uruguay. No sirree, The Messiah is in the squad to motivate. Yes… I’ll say that again… to motivate.
The Guardian website reported on Thursday afternoon, that England Rugby’s official Twitter account had… “released a mock-up image of Russell Crowe’s gladiatorial head on a white England No12 jersey with Burgess written on the back. ‘It’s great to have your support, Maximus,’ read the caption.”
Now I could just be wrong here.
A centre pairing of Burgess and Henry Slade — an immensely talented 22 year-old who probably isn’t ready for the biggest stage of all yet either — could well light the touch paper and do the job that Mike Tindall and Will Greenwood did in ‘03.
But pundits who are better qualified than I don’t think so; neither Brian O’Driscoll nor Will Carling considers that Burgess is anywhere near ready.
Burgess has only started six games at 12 for Bath, his club, where he currently plays at 6, and not only is this worrying if you support England, but it reveals just how big a gambler St Lancaster really is.
And, to continue with the religious theme, if he’d wanted someone to turn water into wine, he would have included Danny Cipriani in the squad.
I’ll leave the penultimate word on the matter to Russell Crowe’s own Twitter post: “Lancaster, you frigging champion”.
But here’s one final thought: Lancaster is currently one hooker down, although there is conjecture that Dylan Hartley may come back into the fold.
If he doesn’t, surely four weeks should be sufficient for The Messiah to put on the No2 shirt?
Go on then Sam… walk on water.