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Mike Ford expects Sam Burgess to stay at Bath

Bath head coach Mike Ford has backed Sam Burgess to remain with the Aviva Premiership club for the next four years despite speculation linking the 26-year-old with a return to rugby league.

Burgess has made a meteoric rise since converting to union late last year and is expected to make his World Cup debut from the bench on Friday when Stuart Lancaster's England open their campaign against Fiji.

He played through last October's NRL Grand Final victory for South Sydney Rabbitohs with a fractured eye socket as well as a damaged cheekbone before making his Bath debut in November.

Reports in the Australian press have linked Burgess with a return next year to the Rabbitohs, where two of his brothers - twins George and Tom - still play.

But Ford insists the player, who has two years left on his Bath contract, remains committed to the English club.

Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Sam is very happy staying in rugby union. He is loving his England spell at the moment and he is looking forward to coming back after the World Cup and playing for us and progressing his rugby union career.

"We are very happy with Sam and Sam is very happy with Bath. We want him to stay and I think he wants to stay for the long term, through to the next World Cup, for example, and he won't be going anywhere in the meantime."

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