Burgess set to excel – Robinson

Date published: October 30 2014

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Former England flyer Jason Robinson is backing rugby league convert Sam Burgess to make a successful transition to rugby union.

Former England flyer Jason Robinson is backing rugby league convert Sam Burgess to make a successful transition to rugby union.

Burgess is set to start his career in the 15-man code at Bath and although Robinson – who also made a successful switch from league to union – admits the 25-year-old faces a daunting challenge, he is confident he will excel at his new sport.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll play a massive part for England,” Robinson told the BBC.

“People ask, ‘is he capable of doing it in such a short space of time?’.

“They’re looking at 11 months until the Rugby World Cup. Can he play for England?

“My journey proves that it can be done. I came over in November and, by February, I was playing for England.

“In June I was on the Lions tour! I have no doubt Sam Burgess will be playing for England, it’s just a case of when. It’s going to be exciting.

“We’ve got Manu Tuilagi, who’s probably England’s first choice in the centre. Luther Burrell is a strong player, great going forward, but I think Sam has got something in him that even those two players don’t have.”

Burgess Bath debut has been delayed after he fractured his cheekbone while helping the South Sydney Rabbitohs to victory against the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL Final earlier this month.

“The NRL has always been the proving ground,” added Robinson.

“Super League is great, but if you want to test yourself, you really go to the NRL. He’s done it. Looking at his last-ever game, I think he’s had four plates in his cheekbone.

“That injury was in the first minute, but he goes on the play the game. He gets man of the match and he finishes his stint at South Sydney on such a high.

“I’ve not seen many players, if any, that pound for pound can physically hit people like he does.

“He’s a very intimidating figure. He’s one of the best in the world.

“It’s a shame that Bath play so far away from where I live [in Huddersfield] because I’d be down there every week just looking for that collision.”

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