Burgess shouldn’t be at RWC – Ashton

Date published: September 8 2015

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Saracens wing Chris Ashton feels centre Sam Burgess should not be in England's squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England.

Ashton, who missed out on selection for the England squad for the global showpiece, and who is, like Burgess, also a former rugby league player, believes Burgess doesn't understand the intracicies of playing as a centre at World Cup level yet.

The 28-year-old thinks Burgess can provide cover as a blindside flanker and centre but said he doubts whether the Bath player has had enough time to get up to speed with midfield play in union.

Burgess has represented England in two Tests after making his international debut in England's World Cup warm-up victory over France at Twickenham last month.

“Sam’s won a Grand Final in Australia, he’s played England rugby league, so he has that experience,” Ashton told The Daily Telegraph.

“He’s a big lad. When he walks into a room you look at him. Martin Johnson is a massive bloke who you pay attention to if he walks past you. He has that aura about him.

“On the playing side of it: Sam’s going to be a really good [union] player. If he’s had enough time is another question. I’m not sure he’s had enough time to play at 12 at the level that’s required.

“He can do what we’ve seen him do against France the other day. He’ll smash people and he’ll run all day. But it’s so different to knowing, without having to think, about your job in the team. It’s so different to smashing someone when they run at you.

“He needs to be in the right places and get his hands on the ball at the right time. 

"That’s not something I’m convinced he’s had enough time to do just yet. I definitely think he will be an England player, forwards or backs. I’m just not sure on what time scale.

“If they need him to come and play six, he’s played there before, so they’ve got that option as well.”

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