Lancaster: Burgess call is ‘no gamble’

Date published: August 27 2015

Choosing to take Sam Burgess to the Rugby World Cup isn't "a gamble" according to England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

The Bath player caught the eye during his Test debut against France two weeks ago and has edged out Northampton's Luther Burrell for the fourth centre spot in England's squad.

Despite his inexperience at international level in Union and having only played a handful of games at inside centre, England have been swayed by what Burgess does offer: power, leadership and substantial X-factor.

Lancaster alluded that the performances of Burgess in training had made the decision more straightforward.

"Sam has trained the house down. He's impressed everybody," Lancaster said at a press conference discussing the squad.

"He's in on merit from what we've seen in the camp. He's earned the right. 

"I wouldn't describe it as a gamble. I understand the size of the decision."

The inclusion of Burgess meant no room for Burrell, who has featured regularly for England in the last two Six Nations.

Lancaster admitted that his conversation with Burrell had been hard but at the same time had to be made.

"It was very, very hard. I know his mum and dad very well. But, that's the nature of being head coach."