England
No international fast-track for Burgess
ESPN Staff
November 28, 2014
David Campese questions Burgess hype

England boss Stuart Lancaster says there will be no favouritism for Sam Burgess and he must learn the code before any thoughts of an international call-up.

Burgess has been named on Bath's bench for Friday night's game against Harlequins and is set to begin his union career in the centres. Anticipation is high as he begins his transition from league in earnest, not least among England's coaching team who will be hoping he can make an impact in time for next year's Word Cup.

However, Lancaster insists competition for places in his squad is fierce regardless of whether Burgess is natural at home in the centres or back row.

"Sam is very realistic and knows he has to learn the game. Without doubt he's a quality individual and quality rugby player," England head coach Lancaster said. "Some make the transition from league to union quickly, others don't. We'll wait and see and make our judgements based on club form. He'll have to get in his club team first and play well.

"Then he will have to prove he has something over and above or at least as much as the equivalent England players in his position. We will subjectively and objectively assess all the players and Sam will come into that equation because clearly he's a good player. This is just one game of many he will play in union.

'Whether he plays in the back row or in the centre, we'll only be taking 31 players to the World Cup. That's five back-row players and four centres. If you've got a fly-half who can play centre it's a bonus and if you've got a centre who can play on the wing, that's a bonus.

"If you went through a list of our centres and back-row players, we've got some good players in there. There are no 'A'-league games left in the Premiership so credit to Bath for doing what they're doing - he's going straight into a Premiership match."

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