Sam Burgess ready for England Saxons, says Bath's Mike Ford

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess has made three starts and four substitute appearances for Bath

Bath coach Mike Ford expects Sam Burgess to be ready for selection for England Saxons at the end of the month.

Burgess, 26, has made seven appearances for the Premiership club since his switch from Rugby League in October.

England boss Stuart Lancaster will announce his Six Nations squad next week, but Ford expects Burgess to be named among the Saxons to face Irish Wolfhounds on 30 January.

"I think Stuart will take it step by step," Ford told BBC Radio Bristol.

"If he's going to pick him, he'll pick him for the Saxons. He'll maybe then see how he does against Ireland and then perhaps invite him into the full squad."

Sam Burgess
Burgess has played in the back row for Bath's reserve side but has been used as a centre in first-team games

Burgess's cross-code conversion to union was delayed after he fractured his cheekbone with the first hit-up of his final game for the Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.

While the facial injury ruled him out of an immediate start with Bath, he remained on the field to help the Rabbitohs win the National Rugby League title with a man-of-the-match performance in October's Grand Final.

He made his Bath debut off the bench against Harlequins in November and has played six more games at centre since then, scoring his first try in the win over Wasps last weekend.

Burgess has been mooted for an inclusion in England's Rugby World Cup squad in the summer and Ford says he has been impressed by the player's progress.

"Against Leicester, he played against Niki Goneva and Anthony Allen, who are both internationals, and he didn't look out of place," said Ford, a former England coach.

"I thought he looked like a rugby union player then and this weekend [against Wasps] he was outstanding.

"He's only been playing the game for two minutes, so we're really pleased.

"Stuart's not decided on the centre partnership so for Sam to keep progressing as he is, he's got a chance."

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