New Saracens signing Fergus Burke reveals international ambitions

Burke qualifies to play for both England and Scotland

Fergus Burke has big boots to fill at Saracens .
Fergus Burke has big boots to fill at Saracens . (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Fergus Burke hopes that by successfully filling the biggest boots in English rugby he will realise his ambitions of playing on the international stage.

Burke has been recruited by Saracens to replace Racing 92-bound Owen Farrell, the former England captain who has been instrumental in helping the club win six Gallagher Premiership and three European titles.

The 24-year-old arrives in north London with a strong pedigree, having served as understudy to All Blacks fly-half Richie Mo’unga at the Canterbury Crusaders.

And, although he has represented New Zealand’s under-20 side, he has targeted playing for England or Scotland, with both scenarios possible through an English mother whose father is Scottish.

“I have big ambitions to play international rugby. First thing’s first, I need to come over here and play well for Saracens and whatever happens in that space happens. It’s exciting,” Burke said.

Offering inspiration to Saracens’ new playmaker is seeing the impact made by Taine Plumtree of Wales and England’s Ethan Roots and Chandler Cunningham-South, each of whom left New Zealand when their professional careers were in their infancy.

“I haven’t spoken to Taine, but he was in my under-20s team and he has done awesome. Lots of boys have come over here and made it work,” Burke said.

“You look at Ethan Roots and Chandler and boys like that. It’s exciting. It’s a different challenge and I am looking forward to it.”

Burke’s priority is settling in at Saracens, where he has the challenge of shaping a future without Farrell, but he at least has experience of replacing a modern great.

“I’ve been through something similar this year, although I’ve been injured a bit, with Richie Mo’unga leaving the Crusaders,” he said.

“I’m my own player, but I have ultimate respect for what Owen’s done at Saracens and he will probably go down as the greatest ever.

“It’s awesome and I’m looking forward to joining the club. I haven’t spoken to Owen, but I’m sure I’ll pick up with him at some point.”