Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Farrell's Challenge to Fired-Up Burgess

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Farrell's Challenge to Fired-Up Burgess

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

ANDY FARRELL believes Sam Burgess will arrive in rugby union with "all guns blazing" but today warned the rugby league star he faces a fight to break into the England squad.

Yesterday, Burgess announced he will join Bath in October when he finishes the current NRL season with South Sydney in Australia.

Farrell knows how hard it can be to switch codes after making the same move in 2005. Although he was part of England's 2007 World Cup squad he never hit the same heights in union as he did in league, partly down to a series of injuries.

Backs coach Farrell, who is preparing England to play Ireland on Saturday, said: "The timeline for Sam in terms of making next year's World Cup squad means it will be difficult for him but the move is not just about the here and now. It's about a three-year plan.

"There is no doubt Sam will be aiming to come in with all guns blazing but he still has to make the step up. He has to earn the right to get into the England squad by playing for his club . We have made this squad a difficult place to break into."

There is speculation about which role will best suit the 25-year-old league forward.

"What position Sam plays will be up to his club," said Farrell. "Everyone is talking about the back row but there is no doubt centre would suit his style of play. Sam is very good at getting over the gain line and has a great offloading game. I will speak to him about his move but, for now, he will be totally committed to Souths and that's his day job."

Meanwhile, Brian Ashton today warned England that in Jonny Sexton they will face the best fly-half in the Northern Hemisphere when they tackle Ireland at Twickenham.

And the former England head coach is also urging Stuart Lancaster to quickly identify a back-up to his own No10, Owen Farrell, to avoid problems at next year's World Cup. …

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