Bath debutant Burgess to learn game

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Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Sam Burgess has been reminded he must serve his union apprenticeship before being considered for England selection.

Burgess is poised to make his first appearance for Bath one month ahead of schedule after being named on the bench for Friday night’s Aviva Premiership clash with Harlequins at the Recreation Ground.

Anticipation is high as the powerful 25-year-old begins his transition from league in earnest, not least among England’s coaching team who will be hoping he can make an impact in time for next year’s Word Cup.

However, Stuart Lancaster insists competition for places in his squad is fierce regardless of whether Burgess is natural at home in the centres or back row.

“Sam is very realistic and knows he has to learn the game. Without doubt he’s a quality individual and quality rugby player,” England head coach Lancaster said.

“Some make the transition from league to union quickly, others don’t. We’ll wait and see and make our judgements based on club form. He’ll have to get in his club team first and play well.

“Then he will have to prove he has something over and above or at least as much as the equivalent England players in his position.

“We will subjectively and objectively assess all the players and Sam will come into that equation because clearly he’s a good player. This is just one game of many he will play in union.

‘Whether he plays in the back row or in the centre, we’ll only be taking 31 players to the World Cup. That’s five back-row players and four centres.

“If you’ve got a fly-half who can play centre it’s a bonus and if you’ve got a centre who can play on the wing, that’s a bonus.

“If you went through a list of our centres and back-row players, we’ve got some good players in there.

“There are no ‘A’-league games left in the Premiership so credit to Bath for doing what they’re doing – he’s going straight into a Premiership match.”

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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