Hollywood bad boy Russell Crowe brings tears to rugby star's eyes with heartfelt gift

Thoughtful Russell comforts Sam Burgess moments after presenting the young sportsman with a club membership card in honour of his late father
 Photo: © Rex

With masculine roles in films like Gladiator, Romper Stomper, and most recently Robin Hood, Russell Crowe has a reputation for being a real man's man.

His softer side was on show this week, though, as he made a particularly poignant and moving gesture that reduced an English rugby player to tears.

The dad-of-two – co-owner of rugby league team the South Sydney Rabbitohs – presented Sam Burgess with a club membership card in the name of his late father shortly before the player made his debut for Russell's team.

He comforted the 21-year-old, who was greatly moved by the thoughtful gift, after handing over the card paying tribute to Mark Burgess, a former rugby player and coach who passed away from motor neurone disease in 2007.

"I think it’s a sign of how good the club is," said the sportsman after the event.

"Russell knows a lot about my background back at home. I'd told my dad I'd come over here at some stage in my career. It's pretty special."

"It's something I'll never forget, a touching moment and really thoughtful of the club and Russell."

He also revealed that the card had been the 45-year-old actor's own idea, and that it had come complete with motivational quotes used by his late dad, whom he nursed in the latter stages of his illness.

"My dad used to coach and he gave me a few tips, but I'm going to keep those a secret" Sam added.

"They were just two simple lines. They just came up in conversation with Russell – he never made a big deal of it but he must have remembered."

While the New Zealand-born actor is, for the moment, focusing his attention on the rugby field, he will soon be swapping sport for the silver screen again.

May marks the anticipated release of Robin Hood, which will keep Russell busy on the promotional trail.

Click here to see the Robin Hood trailer.