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Sam Burgess will suit the centres: Andy Farrell

Date
Changing times: Sam Burgess.

Changing times: Sam Burgess. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Sam Burgess would be best suited to a role in the centres in rugby union, England backs coach Andy Farrell says.

The former dual-code international also says England won't interfere in Bath's plans for the big-money import from South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Farrell swapped rugby league for union in 2005, joining Saracens before winning 21 caps with England.

Despite a near-unrivalled league pedigree, he struggled to settle into one specific role in union, flitting between back row and the centres.

England star Burgess will leave his league status behind when he joins Bath in October, the west country club having bankrolled a $930,000 transfer fee.

Bath will wait until Burgess settles in at the Recreation Ground before choosing a position for the line-breaking 25-year-old.

Farrell believes a slot in the centres would be the perfect place for the former Bradford man to start though.

"I don't suppose it's for me or (England head coach) Stuart (Lancaster), it's for his club really," Farrell said.

"What normally happens is a player gets used to the game and it becomes clear and obvious to himself where he thinks he's going to make the most impact.

"The modern-day coach and player has to work in tandem, otherwise what's the point unless you can get the best out of the player?

"It will become clear and obvious once Sam settles in."

Asked which position would offer the easiest transition from league to union, Farrell said: "There's absolutely no doubt it, it will be in the centres.

"And it would be more suited to his style of play. He's a great line runner and a great guy to get you over the gainline.

"He has a great offloading game. His defence is strong. In rugby league how he's been coached will sit very comfortably in wider open spaces."

Rumours of Burgess' transfer surfaced among suggestions the Rugby Football Union would part-finance his move from the NRL.

Bath have since assumed full responsibility for the deal, with Burgess already targeting a place in England's squad for the 2015 World Cup.

Farrell believes Burgess will face a race against time to acclimatise to the new code and then break into Lancaster's England squad to take part in the World Cup on home soil.

"He's got to earn the right to get in," he said.

"We're trying to make this place as difficult as possible for competition for places.

"You'd hope that Sam will add to that."

AAP

3 comments so far

  • Burgess will be very suited to the centres...as he loves being the centre of attention

    Commenter
    Maximus
    Location
    Rome
    Date and time
    February 19, 2014, 10:39AM
    • When Burgess gets to Bath and realizes he's one of the smallest forwards there he'll aim for a back line position. And he'll struggle imho.

      Commenter
      Hugh Briss
      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 6:45PM
  • The League fraternity must be really annoyed that Sonny Bill and Burgess their respective Countries' best players have defected to Rugby Union. Farrell a former English League International persuaded Burgess to make the move it seems. This would further have infuriated them. Imagine the absolute panic if the ARU were to make a massive offer to Greg Inglis. These defections simply don't surprise me as Rugby League is irrelevant on the World stage, where it is viewed as being a simplistic, boring and repetitive game. The Rugby League World Cup dwarfs in comparison and interest to the Rugby World Cup. Those crowing about the success of the Auckland Nines are going o be brought back to earth next year now that the novelty has worn off.

    Commenter
    Dekka
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    February 19, 2014, 1:05PM

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