Rugby Union

Sam Burgess to play centre role for Bath

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Sam Burgess is getting ready for his debut season in the Aviva Premiership, and after a long time waiting Bath head coach Mike Ford has announced he will feature as a centre.

The 25-year-old grew up playing Rugby League having featured in both the English and Australian Super Leagues, where he came up against some of the best talents.

But now his focus is on Bath's season however the Englishman won't be able to join up with the squad until October 15th.

The brother of four knows he will feature in a centre position and can now focus on how to improve his game and how he can instigate a change in Bath's luck, bringing success to the west of England.

Mike Ford comments

Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Bath coach Mike Ford explained how he wants Burgess to get straight into the thick of the action and hopes the former South Sydney player doesn't change a single thing in his game.

"We'll start him in the centres, so he can see the game live," Ford said.

"We need to get him into the nitty-gritty of the game. We don't want to change who he is. We've got to figure out how the game-plan fits Sam."

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Centre role

The centre role for any team is a very attacking and open-minded position, as the player in contention helps designate attacks and has an eye for a pass.

Burgess has the qualities to fulfil this role but it may take the 25-year-old a while to understand what will and won't work in the Aviva Premiership, but Ford is aiming to throw the Englishman into the deep end which may do him good.

There will no better way to learn as Burgess' first game for Bath may come against Glasgow Warriors, or if he was to make an earlier return could travel with the Somerset side to take on Wasps.

Ford also stated that he wants to take his time with Burgess, as he doesn't want his tank to run out too soon.

"We're going to have to look after him, see where his body is. I don't want him to be burnt out, come March and April.

"Hopefully, when he comes, there's a platform for him to perform well."


The last thing Ford wants is to ruin the team's chances of achieving silverware this season, but also not to ruin Burgess' hopes of making the 2015 World Cup.

Now that his position has been confirmed, there will be intense competition from a number of standout players who'll want to impress over the next year.

Two outstanding regulars for England in the centre position are Manu Tuilagi and Billy Twelvetrees.

Tuilagi missed a majority of the 2014 Six Nations due to injury but has played a key role in England's core, and considering the 23-year-old is still young he has a big future in Lancaster's team.

Billy Twelvetrees meanwhile was recently announced as Gloucester captain by David Humphreys, so he has a key role to play in leading his club side to a respectable finish whilst also performing for England too.

Burgess has the ability of making a lasting impression with Bath and England, having captained the England Rugby League side to the semi-finals of the 2013 World Cup.

But with competition high for a place in the 2015 World Cup, Burgess will need to make sure he transfers the qualities of his rugby league days into Bath's promising season.

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England Rugby
Aviva Premiership
Rugby Union
IRB Rugby World Cup

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