Rugby

Rugby union tougher: Burgess

2015-01-05 12:50
Sam Burgess (Getty)

London - English rugby league convert Sam Burgess admitted he was finding the switch to union tougher than expected, with the complexity of lineouts a particular headache.

The hulking Burgess began his union career in late November with English club side Bath as he attempts to fast-track his way into the international fold ahead of a home World Cup in September.

After a splattering of cameos as a flanker and a back, he made his first English league start at outside centre in a 17-8 loss to Leicester on Sunday where chances to shine were limited on a boggy pitch.

"I knew it was going to be tough but I didn't know it was going to be as tough as this," Burgess told Australia's Fox Sports News in an interview released on Monday.

"But I came for the challenge and it certainly delivered that. I've no regrets."

The smothering defensive display by Leicester also hindered Burgess' ability to showcase the talents that led to him being snapped for union, a game he only played at school and has taken some adapting to.

"There are so many differences," he said. "In fact I would say they are almost opposite, apart from playing on the same-shaped field and with a same-shaped ball.

"The way we tackle in league is different to how you tackle in union and the opportunities (to score) are probably not as great as in league."

Burgess' introduction to his new sport was delayed by surgery to fix a broken cheekbone, which he sustained in the opening collision of Australia's National Rugby League Grand Final in October.

The tough Englishman fought on, though, to put in a man of the match display as his Sydney Rabbitohs thumped the Canterbury Bulldogs in his send-off appearance.

The time off to heal led to much debate about where England and Bath should play the 26-year-old Yorkshireman, with his club coach Mike Ford suggesting his skillset would be best utilised as a flanker.

But with England coach Stuart Lancaster continuing to chop and change his centres in the November internationals it is inevitable Burgess will get a chance sooner rather than later.

"I think 12 (inside centre) suits learning the game quicker, whereas 6 (flanker) you need to have more of a knowledge of the game," Burgess said.

"If there was a position in between the two, I would like that one. Twelve comes more naturally to me because I don't have as many decisions to make.

"I have enjoyed some parts of scrumming, not so much the lineouts, being blatantly honest, because I don't understand them."

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