Bath to give Burgess all the time he needs

Bath coach Mike Ford says that he has told rugby league convert Sam Burgess to take all the time he needs before joining the West Country Premiership rugby club.

Burgess broke his cheekbone playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs who beat Canterbury Bulldogs 30-6 in Australia’s National Rugby League Grand Final and has had a plate inserted into his face.

Burgess was expected to arrive in Bath on October the 15th but that date has now been put back around six weeks.

Ford says he has told Burgess that there is no need for him to rush back to England from Australia where he suffered the injury.

“We don’t have a new date for his arrival yet,” Ford told AFP.

“There’s no date yet but that’s not a problem at all.

“He was always going to have a rest after five years in that brutal competition.

“He’ll be very emotionally drained after that final as well.

“So we’re letting him stay there after his operation, he can enjoy a bit more time with his family, enjoy the celebrations.

“I think it’s important he smells the roses of what’s gone on over the last five years and he’s going to come over and learn the game.”

Burgess has played rugby league for Great Britain and has been tipped to make the England Rugby World Cup squad as a centre even though England have great depth at centre.

Ford however says that Burgess will have his work cut out for him breaking into the Bath team let alone the England team.

“I think it’s disrespectful to the players already excelling at Bath to even think that he’s going to walk into our first team,” said former England defence coach Ford.

“He’s got to learn the game, and he’s got to get credit in the bank before he does that, before we even start talking about England.

“So it is a blessing, I think, mainly because of his body and his mind to keep him fresh, going into what will be the end part of the season which will be tough as well.”

Ford said that he has been impressed with Burgess during his time playing Rugby League in Australia.

“He’s tough for sure: he’s been an Englishman in an Australian competition for starters, when they don’t like the Pommies, especially in Rugby League.

“He’s excelled as a young kid, he’s only 25 now, and he went over when he was 19.

“So it’s not just the physical toughness he showed at the weekend, it’s probably the mental toughness too.

“He’s gone over there and proven to the world he’s a real good rugby player.”

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