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Rugby League World Cup Betting: Back Burgess to banish his bad World Cup memories

Sam Burgess was the scapegoat for England's 2015 Union flops
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England's talisman is fit for the quarter-final with Papua New Guinea and Ralph Ellis says that's a huge boost for Wayne Bennett's boys.

"With Burgess back and Lebanon or more probably Tonga waiting for them England look decent value at around even money to reach the final."

Type the words "Sam Burgess" and "World Cup" into Google and the first few pages are still full of bitter recriminations around England's 2015 Rugby Union flops.

The man mountain rugby league star who was tempted to switch codes to chase a winners medal on home soil instead became the fall guy when it all went wrong. If you wanted evidence that the snobbery between the two codes has never gone away, there it was.

Even Rob Andrew, the ultimate boss at the time as the man who appointed Stuart Lancaster, is keeping the bandwagon rolling. His new book describes picking Burgess as the "tipping point" that started everything unraveling because it "added a rogue ingredient" to the squad dynamic.

Never mind that Lancaster didn't know his best team, never mind that the RFU chose not to pick their best handful of players because they were employed abroad. Let's blame the rugby league guy.

Two years on Burgess is back with the 13-man game and if anybody has an incentive to be the hero for England at another World Cup, then it must surely be him.

After getting injured in England's opening defeat to Australia - and losing him after barely 20 minutes was definitely a factor in that game - Burgess is back for Sunday's quarter-final against Papua New Guinea. The return of the marauding power house should ensure that Wayne Bennett's side justify their odds of [1.19] to go through to the last four.

It was wrong to question his commitment to the cause in 2015, and it would be even more wrong now. His injury was originally diagnosed to potentially rule him out of the whole tournament, but he's done his rehab work properly to be back.

That will give the rest of England's team a huge boost because there's little doubt that, whatever the Union guys thought, in this squad he is the talisman - the player everybody knows can create a little magic.

After two inconsistent performances to put away Lebanon and France, a bit of Burgess brilliance and leadership is sorely needed now.

Papua New Guinea, who are [6.0] in the match odds, have looked good beating Wales, Ireland and the USA and will definitely offer a threat. Having failed to cover their handicap in the last two matches, Bennett's side will do well to win by more than 16.5 points this time.

Winning will be enough, though, and with Burgess back and Lebanon or more probably Tonga waiting for them they look decent value at around even money to reach the final.

Hosts Australia are 1.02] to win the opening match of the weekend against Samoa, but second favourites New Zealand have all sorts of problems before their Saturday morning clash with Fiji.

Coach David Kidwell has made big changes following the loss to Tonga with Kodi Nikorima dumped to the bench and Thomas Leuluai dropped altogether. Fiji, who are unchanged from the side that thrashed Italy, are worth backing with plus 14.5 points in the handicap market.

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