Rugby World Cup: England should pick Sam Burgess - Mike Ford

Will Burgess make World Cup squad?

Centre Sam Burgess should be included in England's Rugby World Cup squad, says Mike Ford, his coach at Bath.

Burgess made his England debut in Saturday's win over France and Ford praised his display as "world class".

Head coach Stuart Lancaster is expected to name four centres in his England squad on 31 August and Ford backed the 26-year-old, who is a flanker at Bath.

But former England scrum-half Matt Dawson told BBC Radio 5 live that Burgess should not be picked.

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Ford, who was part of England's coaching team at the last two World Cups, said Burgess did everything he thought he would do "and much more" in the 19-14 win at Twickenham.

Former rugby league player Burgess put in a tough-tackling performance but was shown a yellow card for pulling back France's Morgan Parra.

"He made a number of tackles, some of them very hard-hitting," added Ford.

"I also thought he was OK with the football, he did a couple of nice passes. He did everything right, he even got a try-saver at an important time.

"I think he did enough to make the squad. Lancaster is looking for leadership off the field and a presence in midfield."

England's World Cup warm-ups
England 19-14 France
France v England, 22 August
England v Ireland, 5 September

The hosts begin their World Cup campaign on 18 September and Ford backed Lancaster's claim that Burgess could make the squad alongside fellow debutant centre Henry Slade.

"I thought Henry Slade played well and I don't see any reason why they can't take them both," he said.

However, Dawson believes that Burgess should miss out to accommodate Slade, saying: "You can't take him to the World Cup.

"Positionally he wasn't great. He played like a six rather than a 12."

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