Six Nations

Burgess must bide his time

2014-02-07 10:46
Stuart Lancaster (AFP)

London - Stuart Lancaster has played down talk of Sam Burgess being fast-tracked into the England squad should the rugby league star change codes later this year.

Premiership side Bath, who in Kyle Eastmond have a cross-code convert in their ranks, have reportedly been linked with bringing Burgess 'home' from Australian NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs, in a move to be part-funded by the Rugby Football Union ahead of the 2015 World Cup in England.

But a cautious Lancaster, speaking ahead of England's Calcutta Cup Six Nations clash with Scotland in Edinburgh this weekend, insisted there would be no special treatment for Burgess.

"Given the competitiveness of the squad we've got at the moment, any new player coming in would have to earn the right to play - as everyone else has done," he said.

"They do that by playing high-quality, consistent, top-level Premiership rugby," the England coach added.

"Let's talk about Kyle Eastmond. He was going to have to play well in the Premiership in order to get into the England team.

"That is the way it should be done."

Lancaster denied any England involvement in trying to sign up Burgess, whose stamina and handling skill, which have seen him compared to New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams and mean the league forward could be suited to inside centre in the 15-man game.

And Lancaster, who met with Burgess while on a fact-finding missing to Australia in August, seemed to indicate that next year would be too short a time for him to become a Test standard union player.

"It would be a challenge, big time, for a player to change codes and play in the 2011 World Cup because of the nature of learning the sport and everything else that goes with it," he said.

"But there's a bigger picture about developing a team that goes way beyond 2015 as well."

Lancaster, recalling his meeting with Burgess, added: "We didn't discuss rugby union. The interest, if there is one, has to come from Sam.

"He has to want to come to rugby union and there is also the issue that he is under contract.

"I was impressed with him. I was impressed with his character and his leadership. He is a grounded, down to earth northerner as well, which helps!," said Lancaster, who himself grew up in the English rugby league stronghold of Cumbria.

"It was a brief meeting, a conversation alongside meeting other players. Clearly he is a world-class rugby league player."

Read more on:    rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Who will win the 2017 Six Nations title?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.