A Rugby World Cup special: in conversation with Sam Burgess, Bill Beaumont and Nigel Melville

by Katie Rowe

Category: Expert insights
July 29 2015

Sam Burgess on Bath's best bars...

Yorkshire lad Sam Burgess aka ‘slamming Sam’ played in Rugby League for the South Sydney Rabbitohs after he was persuaded by actor Russell Crowe, co-owner of the club. He has since switched over to Rugby Union and currently plays for Bath Rugby.

What do you like about being back in England?

The people. Everyone’s very relaxed and happy to stop for a chat here – especially people from the north.

As you’re based in the city of Bath, can you share a few insider tips with us…

Other than a Bath Rugby game at the Rec, go for coffee at either Society Café or Colonna & Hunter, and then Hudson for a steak. My teammate Francois Louw has introduced me to his local, the Pulteney Arms, which I like, and Sub 13 is a cool bar too.

If some of your Rabbitoh’s mates were to travel to England where would you take them?

I’d take them back to my home town – Dewsbury Moor in Yorkshire – and show them my background and the differences to Sydney.

Who do you think will be in the final at the Rugby World Cup?

As long as England is there I don’t mind who they are facing!

Bill Beaumont on his love for the north...

Currently a member of the International Rugby Board and Chairman of the Rugby Football Union, born in the North West of England, Bill Beaumont CBE is the former captain of the England rugby union team, leading the squad to a Six Nations grand slam victory in 1980.

What excites you the most about Rugby World Cup 2015?

The prospect of hosting the World Cup and showing the world what a great country we are.

Where is your favourite place to holiday in England and why?

The Lake District, as it was an area I visited as a child. The mountains and lakes are as impressive as any in the world. Playing in a rowing boat on Windermere is my most cherished English holiday memory.

What can you get from England that you can’t get anywhere else?

Fantastic fish and chips – and these are always best in the north.

What’s the one thing everyone must see or experience in England?

How friendly we are.

Let us in on an insider tip for someone visiting England for the first time…

Travel from the North to the South of the country – it’s not all about London. 

Nigel Melville on why rugby is unique...

Hailing from Leeds, Rugby Union veteran Nigel Melville became the youngest player to captain England on his début when he led them against Australia in 1984. He has served as the CEO of USA Rugby since 2006.

What is it about the camaraderie of rugby fans that spans international borders?

Rugby is unique, as I have said to my kids, wherever you are in the world if you have a problem, contact the nearest rugby club, they will look after you. It’s a very special global family to which we belong and every day I am reminded of this as I hear stories about the global rugby community and the things that happen across the globe.

How do you feel about the Rugby World Cup being played in England, the home of Rugby?

It’s a special tournament and to have it in England makes it extra special – I know the whole country will get behind it and make it a special time for all the players at every game – another example of why the rugby community is special.

USA is drawn in Pool B in the competition. How do you rate your chances against Scotland, Samoa, Japan and cup contenders South Africa?

Of course I rate our chances better than most usually do, there are no easy games, but if we work hard and prepare well and everyone stays fit, we have an exciting group of players coming together at an important time. Many of our team play in the UK these days and players like Samu Manoa (Northampton), Blaine Scully (Leicester) and Chris Wyles (Saracens) will have plenty of support as they represent the Eagles in England.

Tell us some of your favourite things about the Rugby World Cup host cities…

Brighton – a traditional English seaside town with a modern twist – easy train ride from London and an awesome new stadium for the game.

Birmingham – a lot of industrial history that I have never had the chance to see - one day perhaps.

Newcastle Gateshead – Newcastle Brown Ale and the fog on the Tyne! Wonderful people but you will probably struggle to understand a word they are saying!

Leeds – I’m Yorkshire born and bred. Head north and call in for a pint at The Junction in Otley, visit Ilkely Moor and the Yorkshire Dales.

London – one of the best cities in the world. Take the stadium tour at Twickenham. It’s very, very good, it's like going to a museum but you are actually interested in all the exhibits!

Manchester – vibrant city by night and travel north and explore the beautiful Lake District – take your hiking boots and buy one of Wainright’s famous hiking guides. 

The titans of world rugby will be battling it out on pitches across the country as Rugby World Cup 2015 plays out in England from September 18.

Don't miss your chance to soak up the thumping atmosphere on a break in one of the host cities. Sip your way through Leeds’ independent breweries, explore Exeter's historic centre by canoe and much more...

Find events taking place in and around the host cities

Plan your Rugby World Cup break with our handy guides


Katie Rowe

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