Burgess to make first start

Date published: December 8 2014

Sam Burgess will make his first rugby union start on Friday when Bath host Montpellier at the Rec in the Champions Cup.

The West Country side got their European campaign back on track with a win in the South of France last weekend, with Burgess coming off the bench in the second half to make his second appearance for the club.

He’d made his debut a week earlier against Harlequins in the league, and came on in the centres in Montpellier, where he made an impact with a few big hits, although one high shot saw him penalised.

And with Montpellier set to send an even weaker side for the return fixture on Friday, the coaching staff feel the time is right to give Burgess the start.

Francois Louw will also make his first appearance of the season, with the Springbok international finally over the neck injury that has been keeping him out.

“It’s an ideal opportunity to throw both of them in and they will both start,” said Bath coach Toby Booth.

“What Louw will bring is massive defensive pressure at the breakdown. Sam has played 55 minutes so far but he is a bit further down the line.

“When you’re dealing with one of the best rugby league players on the planet then of course it’s going to warrant that sort of attention.

“He’s had the same amount of practical jokes played on him as anybody else.”