Burgess joins elite group of Premiership players

Rugby League convert Sam Burgess has entered the history books by becoming just the 9th player to make the switch from a back to playing as a forward in the Premiership.

The cross-code star had predominately started life in rugby union in the centres, though his future could well lie in the pack after a powerful showing alongside Francois Louw in the victory over Newcastle Falcons.

Positional switches are common in the early stages of a player’s career – Tom Youngs’ transition from centre to hooker one of the most notable examples.

But according to Premiership Rugby statistician Stuart Farmer, he is just one of nine players, alongside Burgess, to have lined up in both the pack and the backs as a starter in England’s top flight since the professional era began.

The first to have done so is former Saracens stalwart Kris Chesney who, thanks to possessing a rare combination of size and speed, clocked four appearances on the wing.

But it is hard to picture him ever flying up and down the flanks now as he went on to start 154 times among the forwards for Sarries.

Previous Premiership players who have made the switch

Player – Club – Forwards Starts – Backs Starts
Kris Chesney – Saracens/Bristol 154 – 4 (wing)
Dion O’Cuinneagain – Sale Sharks 26 (back-row) – 1 (wing)
Paul Hewitt – Bedford 6 -1 (wing)
Dave Scully – Rotherham 1 (flanker) 12
Epi Taione – Newcastle Falcons 30- 22
Alix Popham – Leeds 24 -1 (centre)
Apo Satala – Leeds/Gloucester 11 -8
Tom Youngs – Leicester Tigers 39 -3 (centre)
Sam Burgess – Bath 1 -7

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