IRB Rugby World Cup
Sam Burgess will make World Cup squad: Mike Ford
PA Sport
July 13, 2015
Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess© (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Bath boss Mike Ford expects to see Sam Burgess make England's World Cup squad - and the host nation reach the final at Twickenham on October 31.

Ford believes that Burgess will successfully make a quantum leap from Australia's NRL to England World Cup squad member, despite the Yorkshireman only making his union debut 227 days ago.

And Ford has backed England to book a World Cup final appointment - "probably taking on the All Blacks" - by capitalising on home advantage that would see them play six of seven games at Twickenham if they reach the final.

Burgess and the rest of a 45-man England training squad have now decamped to Denver, Colorado, for further intense pre-tournament training, with the countdown continuing towards head coach Stuart Lancaster's final World Cup squad announcement late next month.

England will play home and away warm-up games against France before Lancaster confirms his 31-player group for the tournament, and Ford expects ex-rugby league star Burgess to make the cut.

"Sam might be one of those decisions that Stuart has not quite made his mind up," Ford, who was a member of the England coaching staff at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, said.

"But the rugby side of things will start now with England away in Denver, and the preparation in terms of the style they want to play.

"Hopefully, Sam will get a crack in the warm-up games. He was outstanding in the Aviva Premiership final (in May). I expect him to get in, if he gets a shot in the warm-up games, which I expect him to do.

"They (England) are running him at centre, but there is the ability that if Sam was on the bench, for example, he could also play back-row if they need it."

Burgess, who delivered a man-of-the-match display despite playing for 79 minutes with a fractured cheekbone during South Sydney Rabbitohs' NRL Grand Final triumph last October, helped Bath reach the Premiership final and European Champions Cup quarterfinals last season.

And Ford has been impressed with his adaptation to the 15-a-side code.

"It is pretty special what he has done. There was all the hype that came with it, all the scrutiny," added Ford, who was speaking at a Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour event in Bath on Monday.

"He has played in the centre, then the back-row, and I think moving forward he is going to be a world-class player in the back-row for Bath, and I certainly see him in the future playing No.6 for England."

© PA Sport

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