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Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 15:32 UK

Falcons close to my heart - Burke

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Interview: Australian rugby star Matthew Burke

Former Newcastle Falcons full-back Matthew Burke says his spell at Kingston Park was one of the most enjoyable of his successful career.

The Australian, 35, retired at the end of last season following a serious knee injury and believes his experience of European rugby has been beneficial.

"I really enjoyed my time playing here," he told BBC Look North.

"I learned a new style of rugby and that knowledge will help me if I go into coaching at home in Australia."

As a World Cup winner in 1999, Burke arrived on Tyneside with a massive reputation, and says he worked extra hard to prove he was here for sporting rather than financial reasons.

It's fantastic to know I came over here as a foreigner, was able to contribute and wear the shirt with pride

Former Newcastle Falcons favourite Matthew Burke

"I had to make sure I didn't get booed, I got asked the questions when I arrived if it was for monetary reasons, and it was in no way, it was for me to contribute," he said.

"I hope that I have gained the support of the crowd as well as my team-mates, if that's the legacy I can leave.

"It's fantastic to know I came over here as a foreigner, was able to contribute and wear the shirt with pride."

Newcastle Falcons will take on Super 14 side Western Force in a testimonial for Burke at Kingston Park on Friday.


see also
Burke's career is ended by injury
29 May 08 |  Newcastle


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