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Burgess could earn Saxons chance

Stuart Lancaster has floated the possibility of Sam Burgess making his England debut for the Saxons against the Irish Wolfhounds on January 30.

Burgess' first taste of rugby union unfolded over 17 minutes as a second-half replacement in Bath's comprehensive Aviva Premiership victory over Harlequins on Friday.

The 25-year-old former rugby league star carried with intent and cleared out a ruck in a promising if unspectacular debut at the Recreation Ground.

England are desperate to fill their problematic inside centre position and Burgess will be a contender if he adapts quickly to the new code.

When asked if Burgess could make his RBS 6 Nations squad, Lancaster said: "That would be a big step, but who knows? We'll wait and see. If he plays well, there's a Saxons game in January.

"Sam is a player who will be of interest, without a doubt. It took about three Quins players to stop him.

"He's a powerful man and it will be nice to see him get a few more games and put his hand up."

Burgess will be involved in Bath's Champions Cup clash with Montpellier on Friday and is likely to be joined in that matchday squad by George Ford, who enjoyed a breakthrough autumn for England.

Ford built on his strong full debut against Samoa with another composed display in Saturday's 26-17 victory over Australia, and only a collapse in form would prevent him starting ahead of Owen Farrell against Wales on February 6.

"I think George has done enough for a run in the team, but I'm sure Owen will have something to say about that in the next five or six weeks," head coach Lancaster said.

"There are four European games and four Premiership games until we meet again and Owen will want to get that shirt back.

"I didn't feel George really had the understanding of the mechanics of the team to throw him straight into that New Zealand game at the start of the autumn.

"I definitely had the confidence to start him against Samoa and it wasn't a difficult decision to start him against Australia.

"There was a bit of debate about whether he should kick or not. Well, he's an 82 per cent goal-kicker this season and if we're going to give someone responsibility, we have to trust them to do the whole job."

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