Sam Burgess says switch to union with Bath tougher than expected

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess says he has not enjoyed the line-outs since switching codes because "I don't understand them"

Sam Burgess says he is finding switching codes from rugby league to union tougher than expected, with line-outs a particular frustration.

Burgess, 26, who began his union career with Bath in November, made his first Premiership start in the 17-8 defeat by Leicester on Sunday.

"I knew it was going to be tough but I didn't know it was going to be as tough as this," said Burgess.

"But I came for the challenge and it certainly delivered. I've no regrets."

Englishman Burgess produced a man-of-the-match display as his Sydney Rabbitohs beat Canterbury Bulldogs to win Australia's National Rugby League title in October in what was his final appearance for the club.

Sam Burgess profile
Sam Burgess made his professional rugby league debut with Bradford Bulls in 2006, going on to score 17 tries in 88 matches for the club. Four years later, he headed to Australia to play for Sydney Rabbitohs, playing 95 matches and scoring 26 tries. He returned to England last winter, switching codes and joining Bath.

His union debut was delayed following surgery to fix a broken cheekbone, but he has since appeared five times for Bath at centre, although he has played as a flanker in the reserve team.

"I think 12 (inside centre) suits learning the game quicker, whereas six (flanker) you need to have more of a knowledge of the game," said Burgess, in an interview with Australia's Fox Sports News.

"If there was a position in between the two, I would like that one. Twelve comes more naturally to me because I don't have as many decisions to make.

Cross-code stars
Sonny Bill Williams (NZ) - began career in league, switched to union to win 2011 World Cup then switched back and was runner-up in 2013 league World Cup
Jason Robinson (Eng) - Won league World Club Challenge with Wigan before switching to be part of England World Cup-winning team of 2003
Israel Folau (Aus) - Not two, but three codes. A league international before switching to Australian rules, he joined union in 2013 and made his Test debut against the Lions

"I have enjoyed some parts of scrumming, not so much the line-outs, being blatantly honest, because I don't understand them."

With a home World Cup approaching in September, Burgess knows he still has work to do to earn a place in Stuart Lancaster's squad.

"I'm not even in the Bath first team yet," said Burgess, who earned 13 caps for England in rugby league. "I'm just going to keep playing and when I get my opportunity, I'll enjoy it and do my best with that.

"I'd love to be a part of the (World Cup) squad. I'd love to be given a chance but I guess I can't talk myself into a team. I've really got to go and play, and get on the field."

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