League
Fantastic or Flop: Izzy's assessment of Sam Burgess

Fantastic or Flop: Izzy's assessment of Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess is "too good a player" not to go to the Rugby World Cup, according to fellow rugby union convert Israel Folau.

Israel Folau can understand why fellow rugby union convert Sam Burgess took a little while to settle in following his transition from rugby league.

While Australia's Folau made an immediate impact on rugby union, scoring a try in his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs in 2013 on his way to eight tries in 14 games that year, England's Burgess endured a frustrating start to his time with Bath in the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season.

The former South Sydney Rabbitohs forward missed the opening eight rounds of the campaign due to injury, while he came off the bench in his first three games as Bath initially played him in the centres.

That decision saw the 26-year-old Englishman initially struggle to have an impact but when Bath coach Mike Ford moved Burgess to blindside flanker in April, it made a huge difference.

Folau, who scored a record 10 tries for the Wallabies in his first year, reckons playing as a back in the two rugby codes is almost the same, while Burgess has had a steeper learning curve as a forward.

"For me coming across as an outside back I felt like my transition was a little bit easier because it is very similar to my role playing rugby league," Folau, who joined the Waratahs after two unsuccessful seasons playing Australian rules football, told Fox Sports.

"But a forward's role in league and union is very different. There are a lot of new things to pick up and the style is quite different.


"But a guy like Sam Burgess, who is very talented can pick up the game quite quickly and he's definitely got some talent so I hope he does really well."

Folau added: "He'd [Burgess] definitely be better in the forwards.

"His skill set looks suited to a running forwards position."

Burgess scored two tries in the last six games of the season in the back row, prompting Ford to declare his recruit could be ready for England's Rugby World Cup campaign, and Folau agrees.


"Yeah, I definitely think he'll make it [into England's final squad]," the Wallabies full-back said.

"He's an outstanding player. He's too good a player not to be there."

Burgess has only played one representative match for the second-string England Saxons but was included in Stuart Lancaster's initial 50-man squad for the World Cup.

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