Defence coach Sinfield explained his emotional motivation for representing England in France as his family first – then his old team-mate and best friend Burrow as a close second.
Sinfield has raised more than £7million for charity with a series of extremely gruelling running challenges, and all in honour of Burrow, who is living with Motor Neurone Disease.
Sinfield admitted before Sunday’s quarter-final clash with Fiji in Marseille, England’s coaches and players will all take a moment to remember why they do what they do – and exactly who they do all that for.
For the 43-year-old Rugby League great Sinfield, his motivations are never far from his mind.
“It’s family, I think it’s my family the most,” said Sinfield, who formed an era-defining half-back partnership with Burrow at Leeds Rhinos.
“But also there’s my good mate Rob, who’s probably partly why I’m here. So he’s been watching the games at home, and he’s becoming a bit of a fan, so he’ll be tuning in tomorrow. He’s another rugby union convert now.”
Burrow won the special recognition award at the Pride of Britain awards earlier this week, to mark his own fundraising in a bid to find a cure for MND.
Sinfield has always worn his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Burrow and his determination to fundraise for research into the debilitating condition that is MND.
England’s players all talk of a coach and a leader who it is never difficult to follow, as much because of his tactical and technical acumen as for his own personal drive to honour his friend.
Sinfield joked he had not had much chance to be in touch with Burrow while in France, because his friend has been too busy stacking up the awards.
“I haven’t really had much chance to be in touch with him while we’ve been in France,” said Sinfield.
“To be honest he’s been to that many different awards dinners the last couple of weeks, it’s hard trying to keep track!
“He was on holiday the weekend before, so it’s just general stuff, but he’s been following the games, he’s been really enjoying it. He would have made a great scrum-half by the way.”
England lost to Fiji 30-22 in August, but have won every match since, pulling off a clean sweep of Pool D to tee up a quarter-final rematch with the Pacific Islanders.
Sinfield explained the mood in England’s camp ahead of their knockout clash at Stade Velodrome on Sunday as one of excitement and pride.
“First of all it’s a real honour to wear the badge, we’ve mentioned right from the start how proud the players are,” said Sinfield.
“We’ve come a long way as you know, the last nine, 10 months, so to find ourselves in a big game against such a great opposition at a stunning venue is pretty special.
“A quarter-final is special at any time, but it’s great as we are to have 33 guys all competing hard as they are, and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow.
“Everybody’s different, for me it’s important to understand why you’re here, and then try and channel that and use it in the right way. And the support we can provide to the players is really, really important.
“I want them to bring the best of themselves, we back them, we believe in them and we want them to do their best. They’ve trained really, really well this week, and I think the group stages have prepared us in a whole host of different ways.
“But we’re pretty excited about tomorrow, looking forward to it, and we’ve got every confidence in the group we’ve selected for tomorrow.”