European Champions Cup
Burgess to make first Bath start
ESPN Staff
December 8, 2014
Burgess came off the bench in Bath's win in Montpellier on Friday night © Getty Images

Sam Burgess will make his first start for Bath since converting to rugby league in this Friday's European Champions Cup clash against Montpellier at the Rec.

South Africa international flanker Francois Louw will also return from injury to start against Montpellier following surgery.

Burgess will start at inside centre, where he appeared off the bench in the Premiership clash with Harlequins and in Montpellier over the last two Fridays. He replaces Kyle Eastmond, who is rested.

"Sam Burgess will get his first start and Francois Louw will also come into the 15 too," said bath coach Toby Booth. "Sam has progressed well and is improving all the time. He's put in a hug effort on the training field and we always said we were going to centre his learning what happens at the ruck, and we're delighted with how he's come on in that regard.

"There will be more focus on and pressure on him this week but it's not just about Sam, it's about what's best for Bath Rugby. It's important to give him opportunities and get him involved in situations but this also gives us a chance to give people like Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph a bit of a breather because they've played a lot of rugby for us this year and been outstanding pretty much all the way though."

Louw picked up a neck injury which required surgery playing for South Africa in the Rugby Championship and has not played for Bath this season.

"Flow has been training for number of weeks and it was just a case of making sure we have everything right with him," added Booth. "It was something we didn't want to rush and it's about consulting with the right people and making sure the player is confident to play. He is itching to get back out there and I'm sure people are itching to see him again too."

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