Centre first for Burgess

Date published: August 27 2014

Bath coach Mike Ford has revealed that Sam Burgess will start his union career at centre with a view to moving him into the back-row.

Bath coach Mike Ford has revealed that Sam Burgess will start his rugby union career in the centres with a view to moving him to the back-row.

The 25-year-old superstar, who will join the Aviva Premiership club from South Sydney Rabbitohs in October, is being backed to play in the World Cup.

Debate has raged about whether Bath would play him at inside centre or in the back-row, but Ford's words have shed more light on the subject.

“We've got a plan for him now, but there's so many variables,” said Ford on Wednesday. “Clearly we will probably look at him in the centres first and foremost, let him learn the game from afar really.

“We've got a plan for him in the centres to start with, but my gut feeling is he will end up in the pack.

“Whether that will be Christmas, whether it will be Christmas 2015 who knows? He's here for a long time so we're not too worried about that.

“But if he's doing 60 plays a game in the NRL then you don't really want him playing on the wing do you, in rugby union.

“It's important that when Sam comes we get the best out of Sam and what he can do, and what his qualities are.

“So we're going to try to get those qualities out more often than not.”

Ford added that the reported tension between the Recreation Ground outfit and the Rugby Football Union would not be an issue as they are now “on the same wavelength”.

“They've got nothing to do with him, the RFU have got no say in his development at Bath Rugby,” he said.

“They haven't asked us to play him at centre, but clearly I've spoken to Stuart and we're on the same lines.

“He again wants Sam Burgess to be Sam Burgess. So we're clearly on the same lines.

“He might play at centre and be brilliant, and then why would you move him?”