Rugby Ford: Burgess committed to union, as a six

Bath coach Mike Ford is confident Sam Burgess can gain a place in England's Six Nations squad as a blindside flanker.

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play (Omni Sports)
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Sam Burgess' coach at club level says the cross-code international is committed to rugby union and plans to represent England as a back-row forward at the next World Cup in 2019.

Much debate has surrounded the involvement of Burgess in England's miserable World Cup campaign, which will come to an end with a dead rubber against Uruguay on Saturday.

In the wake of England's defeats to Wales and Australia, there have been suggestions Burgess " who will play no part against Uruguay - could abandon union and return to Super League or the NRL.

However, Bath coach Mike Ford believes the 26-year-old is determined to prove his worth in union as a number six - a role he has impressed in at club level - having been utilised at inside centre by England thus far.

"Proving he is an international back-rower is the big challenge now for Sam," said Ford. "He's always been a number six for us, no question. We've talked about the next time the England squad gets selected, his goal's got to be to be there as a six.

"The last conversation I had with him he was going to extend his contract with us and he wanted to go for the next World Cup. He is going to play for us for the next few years. He loves rugby union, he is settled in Bath and he knows he is a six.

"He enjoys being a six, he enjoys the game better because he is more involved.

"We've said, 'Come back to Bath, carry on playing well'. We have an unbelievable run of fixtures coming up; we have Toulon, Leinster, Leicester, Northampton and Wasps twice.

"If he can play six in those games, against the best in Europe, I am sure England will have a look at him in that role.

"I am sure he'll break into the international squad as a six. We will no doubt show everyone he is a back row, not a centre. That's what I am hoping will happen."

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