Sam Burgess in line to make full Bath debut
Bath are set to hand new boy Sam Burgess his full debut against Montpellier in their next match, with the Somerset side needing a win and probably a bonus point to stay in the European Champions Cup, a competition they are 66/1 with Coral to win.
Having briefly featured alongside the tutelage of fellow ex-rugby league man Kyle Eastmond, for 17 minutes last time out, Burgess will break out on his own against the French side.
First team coach Toby Booth admits Bath “are behind the eight ball a bit”, with the competition nearing midway in the pool stage, though is sure that it is the perfect time to start the former Bradford Bulls man.
“Sam’s a bit further down the line, which makes things interesting for us,” said Booth, who also admitted that their South African Test flanker Francois Louw is also to be included in the squad.
The 29-year-old had surgery on a neck injury after sustaining damage to it in the Rugby Championships against the All Blacks. Having missed the Autumn Internationals in Europe to recover from his injury, he has also been helping Burgess settle into life in a rugby union club, as well as teaching him all the ways of a back row in the sport.
Director of Rugby at Bath, former rugby league player Mike Ford has said that he would prefer Burgess in the back row, while there is a debate at international level that he would be better off in the centres for England, with Burgess predicted to make the Six Nations squad at a canter.
“Even if people do think he’s super human that has to be a modicum of sense in the time he has to be out there learning the breakdown, etc,”, said Booth.
“We’re going well and we enjoyed our trip to Montpellier in the rain, so it will be a good chance to see what he can do for a longer period of time.”