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Farrell backs Burgess code switch

08th February 2014 08:14


Sam Burgess England RL training 2014

Sam Burgess: Will he switch?

England backs coach Andy Farrell believes Sam Burgess has the "warrior" mentality that will help him be a success in Union should the Rugby League star change codes.

Widespread reports have suggested England's Rugby Football Union are considering bringing Burgess into the 15-man game and may be willing to fund, at least in part, a buy-out of the two years left on his contract with Australian NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Farrell, himself an international player in both codes, denied he'd approached Burgess about a move to union during last year's Rugby League World Cup in England.

But speaking on the eve of England's Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield, Farrell's admiration for Burgess's playing ability was clear.

"Sam can make an impact, that's the type of person he is," Farrell said of the talented 25-year-old.

"He's an impact type of guy. That's what he brings with his attitude.

"He's certainly a fighter and a warrior. He's very similar to what we have in people like Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees and Manu Tuilagi. Those type of people are pretty important."

But as for suggestions that Burgess might change sports with a view to playing in the 2015 rugby union World Cup in England, Farrell said that was demanding a lot.

"It's a tough ask, but some people can take to things more quickly than others," said the coach.

"Mentality-wise you're trying to get ready for a battle, especially at international level, but the game does take some time to get used to as far as instinct is concerned.

"I'm not saying that somebody of the calibre of player we talking about couldn't."

Meanwhile Farrell was adamant he had not tried to lure Burgess away from rugby league, saying his most recent contact with the player was when he presented him with his shirt before England's agonising World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in November.

"Not once have I ever spoken to Sam about rugby union in any way, shape or form," Farrell said.

"The last time I spoke to him was at the World Cup, like I spoke to 24 other players."

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