Earlier this week, reports emerged that English-born South Sydney forward Sam Burgess has agreed to switch codes next year. According to the Daily Mail, Burgess has already accepted an offer from an English rugby union team – understood to be Bath – and will make the hop once the terms of the deal are finalised.
The Public Apology was unable to speak to Burgess himself, but managed to secure an unlikely interview with his namesake – the infamous 17th Century pirate, Samuel Burgess. See below for the exclusive interview:
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The Public Apology: Firstly, thanks for joining us at such late notice, Sam. May I call you Sam?
Samuel Burgess: Sure, lad. Quite frankly I’m amused that you’ve approached me to conduct this ridiculous interview. After all, I died in 1716 in Madagascar.
TPA: Exactly. Well let’s start a bit earlier than that. You are most well known for your affiliation with the Scottish sailor William Kidd – not to be confused with his own namesake, Billy the Kid, the celebrated outlaw of the American West. How did you guys link up?
S.B: Well, Dave, I’d have to go back further than that. I had been sailing the Seven Seas for years before I hooked up with The Kiddster, as we called him. But anyway, I was just a no-good two-bit shyster when I pumped into The Kiddster at a celebrated and since defunct whorehouse – or boudoir, as they were often called back then (somewhat interchangeably). We had a thousand beers, rugby league-style, and might have indulged in a spot of group sex… I’m not quite sure. The exact memory escapes me – I mean, we’re going back some 350 years, Davo!
Anyway, I became an inaugural crew member on his ship, the Blessed William. I thought the name was a bit arrogant, but went along with it because he was paying me reasonably well… £1 a day, I think it was. Big money.
TPA: If you account for Consumer Price Indexing, that’s some serious coin in today’s currency. What did you guys get up to at sea?
S.B: Everything you’d imagine a couple of virile men to get up to.. and then some. The days were tough, given that England was at war with the French and that whole thing, but we found a way to unwind in between skirmishes. We played a lot of cricket on the vessel, actually. It’s a bone I’ve long wanted to pick with cricket historians, the fact that we – pirates – invented the sport.
TPA: Fascinating. I’ve read that there were, in fact, a number of cricket references occurring up and around the English Civil War, which I guess would be some 40 years before your time on the Blessed William. These indicate that cricket had become an adult game contested by parish teams, but there is no evidence of county strength teams at this time, I’d add.
S.B: Nah, we’d never heard of it. We definitely came up with the idea.
TPA: So, as I understand it, everyone grew tired with The Kiddster’s dictatorial attitude, and there was a mutiny of sorts. What was your involvement in that?
S.B: Mate, I’m as loyal as they come. Despite sharing my name with that bloody code-hopper. Sam Burgess. Anyway, I don’t want to go into it. I signed a Non Disclosure Agreement and I can’t talk about it ever again.
TPA: That makes no actual sense, but no dramas – it remains, clearly, a sensitive issue. That aside, what happened after the Blessed William was seized. Were you out of a job?
S.B: To be honest, I’d have to say that Wikipedia is surprisingly accurate when documenting my whereabouts from the years 1693-1701. I took a job with Frederick Phillips, New York’s wealthiest merchant, and made a series of extremely lucrative voyages to Madagascar, where I sold supplies and guns to pirates in exchange for gold and, umm, slaves. [shuffles uncomfortably]
TPA: Sounds like a great deal. And so you were just splitting your time between Madagascar and New York, like some kind of 17th Century equivalent of a Hollywood baller?
S.B: Yeah, it was great. Kind of like how Simon Baker splits his time between Byron Bay and L.A., where he records The Mentalist for a few months every year. Even back then, you knew New York was going to be big. It just felt like the centre of the universe; a pulsating, vibrant, economic and cultural hub.
TPA: It certainly is the city that never sleeps.
S.B: True ‘dat. Anyway, on one of my trips back to Madagascar I got in argument with a Madagascan Chief over a slave that I wanted to buy. Look, a few things were said about people’s wives and what not – and maybe I overstepped the mark a bit, who knows? What I do know is that, subsequent to that, I was poisoned, which resulted in my untimely death at the age of 66.
I should have been more aware, but who can turn down a delicious and generous helping of Beef Ramazava – especially when it has been perfectly sauteed with ginger, tomato and onion!
TPA: A terrible tragedy.
While I’ve got you here, I’d be interested to get your take on the NRL competition, as it stands. Are you happy with the way the game is being run these days?
S.B: Mate, there’s always room for improvement. It’s a good thing that they’ve got David Smith, a banker, in as CEO, because it means we’ve got a fiscally responsible bloke – one who has overseen an international banking division spanning 10 countries. The future of the NRL appears to be in safe hands.
As for the game itself, I’ll be interested to see how some of the mooted rule changes pan out this year. It’s a fast game – and I think that stopping the clock following a conversion or penalty goal attempt during extra-time will certainly address the issue of time-wasting. Don’t ask me to pick a winner for 2014 though! [laughs at his own cliche]
TPA: [polite laughter]… Geez, it’s just such a tight competition these days, isn’t it?
S.B: You said it brother.
TPA: Samuel Burgess, it’s been fascinating. Thanks for your time.
S.B: Cheers, bud.
By Dave Edwards