Burgess admits tackling rugby union is tougher than expected

Ross McLean
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CODE-SWITCHER Sam Burgess has revealed the conversion to rugby union from league is proving a harder task to master than he initially envisaged.

Surgery to fix a broken cheekbone delayed his union debut until November but after a smattering of cameos the 26-year-old made his first start for Bath in their 17-8 Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Yorkshireman Burgess has made five appearances for Mike Ford’s side at centre after playing reserve-team rugby at flanker, and admits the complexities of the game are challenging.

“I knew it was going to be tough but I didn’t know it was going to be as tough as this,” he said. “But I came for the challenge and it certainly delivered that. I’ve no regrets.

“There are so many differences. In fact I would say the two games are almost opposite, apart from playing on the same-shaped field and with a shape-shaped ball.”

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has a midfield conundrum to solve ahead of the World Cup with Burgess’ name consistently mentioned in dispatches, although the former Sydney Rabbitohs star is adamant performances alone will determine his fate.

He added: “I’m not even in the Bath team yet. I’d love to be part of the World Cup squad but I guess I can’t talk myself into a team. I’ve really got to go and play, and get on the field.”