Sam Burgess has been hailed "a true hero" for saving a man's life after he began choking in a Sydney fish market.

Burgess, who returned to Australia and rugby league late in 2015 after failing to make an impact on rugby union following a poor Rugby World Cup for England, was attending a team meal with the rest of the South Sydney Rabbitohs squad at Sydney Fish Markets.

The 27-year-old was taking part in a fish-eating challenge with the Souths squad members and one of the staff working at the fish market decided to join in. But when the restaurant manager started to choke on a piece of the seafood, Burgess is said to have immediately run over to him and try and dislodge his blocked throat.

One witness told "The Souths boys were at work doing a fish-eating challenge and then one of the managers got involved.


"They were eating and some seafood got caught in his throat and he started choking. Sam raced straight over and grabbed him and started putting his body weight on him to try and get it out.

"He was helping him for about 30 to 40 seconds and instead of spitting it out he ended up swallowing it, but if Sam hadn't have helped it could have been bad.

"I'm telling you Sam is a hero."

It was added that Burgess was not the only Souths member to rush to the choking staff member's aid, but it was the cross-code England international who ultimately saved his life by clearing his airway.

"He saved his life. Another 30 seconds and it could have gone either way," the witness added.