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Mike Catt: Sam Burgess can make smooth transition into starting role

Published 20/09/2015

Mike Catt has backed Sam Burgess to make a smooth transition to a Test starting role
Mike Catt has backed Sam Burgess to make a smooth transition to a Test starting role

Mike Catt is backing Sam Burgess' big-game temperament to ensure he would make a seamless transition into England's starting line-up against Wales.

Burgess is in contention for promotion from the bench after impressing as a final-quarter replacement in the 35-11 victory over Fiji in Friday's World Cup opener at Twickenham.

The 26-year-old's direct running helped re-establish momentum at a time when England were drifting and he is among several players who are pushing for a start against Warren Gatland's Wales.

"What we saw against Fiji we've seen all along from Sam. We know what he brings," attacking skills coach Catt said.

"We back Sam. Sam's job on Friday was to come off the bench and cause the opposition problems and that's exactly what he did. He's a big-game player and a great competitor."

When asked if Burgess, who has spent only 10 months in rugby union, would cope with starting against Wales, Catt replied: "Yes".

England name their team on Thursday morning with head coach Stuart Lancaster hinting strongly after the bonus-point victory over Fiji that changes will be made.

"There will be certain individuals who will be disappointed with their performances against Fiji, but there's a lot of experience there to pull each other through and really give it a go," Catt said.

"Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Mako and Billy Vunipola - the whole bench came on and made a huge impact. From our point of view it's exactly how we wanted it to unfold.

"The guys will come into camp and we'll see how they train. We haven't made any decisions yet.

"We know that defensively we'll have to make sure we're good in certain areas against Wales to stop their big runners off first phase.

"We're massively excited about this game on Saturday, it's exactly what the World Cup is about.

"It will probably be the biggest game a lot of the guys have ever played. It's very, very exciting."

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