Sam Burgess to make his England Saxons debut against Ireland

Sam Burgess: Rugby union 'starting to make sense'

Bath inside centre Sam Burgess will make his England Saxons debut against the Ireland Wolfhounds on Friday.

England's injury problems have moved the 26-year-old up the pecking order and handed him a start in Cork.

The former rugby league star switched codes to join Bath from the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of the season in October 2014.

Burgess fractured his eye socket in his last game for South Sydney, the NRL Grand Final.

The inside centre told BBC Sport he is relishing the opportunity to represent his county in both codes, with his last appearance in England colours coming during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup as England were beaten by New Zealand in the semi-final.

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 the 2013 league World Cup
Jason Robinson (Eng) - Won league World Club Challenge with Wigan before switching to be part of the 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

Ahead of the game at Musgrave Park, Burgess said: "I'm thankful for the opportunity to wear the jersey, and getting a chance to sing the anthem again on Friday night."

But the former Bradford Bulls star has played down speculation he could be named in England head coach Stuart Lancaster's World Cup squad.

"It's a long way away. Everyone's talking about it, but I'm just going to take it week by week and try and improve my performances," Burgess said.

"Come World Cup time we'll see how things are going and if I've done enough to get selected," he added.

Ireland Wolfhounds: Felix Jones (Munster); Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster); Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht); Jack McGrath (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster); Iain Henderson (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster); Dominic Ryan (Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Jack Conan (Leinster).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Eoin McKeon (Connacht), Isaac Boss (Leinster), Noel Reid (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster).

England Saxons: Chris Pennell (Worcester); Chris Ashton (Saracens), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Sam Burgess (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins); Henry Slade (Exeter); Lee Dickson (Northampton) capt; Matt Mullan (Wasps), Rob Webber (Bath), Henry Thomas (Bath); Matt Garvey (Bath), James Gaskell (Wasps), Dave Ewers (Exeter), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Thomas Waldrom (Exeter).

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Alex Waller (Northampton), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Carl Fearns (Bath), Joe Simpson (Wasps), Ollie Devoto (Bath), Christian Wade (Wasps).

Top Stories