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Attwood sees big future for Burgess

England lock Dave Attwood believes Sam Burgess can make a major impact for both club and country after his high-profile switch from rugby league.

Burgess has so far been involved in seven first-team games for Bath - either starting or featuring off the bench - and Press Association Sport understands that he is on course to feature for England Saxons when they tackle the Irish Wolfhounds in Cork on January 30.

He produced the best performance of his fledgling union career when Aviva Premiership title contenders Bath saw off Wasps 39-26 on Saturday, scoring his first senior try for the club, making some strong contributions in attack and defence, and being named man of the match.

And Bath team-mate Attwood believes the 26-year-old will go from strength to strength as he gets to grips with his code switch.

"I think if they are looking at him in that respect, he is the kind of player who will benefit from that (England) environment," he said.

"I would love to see him get involved, but I think let's walk before we can run. A few more man-of-the matches would be great.

"We don't want to just get him involved and playing well, and then lose him to England, so the longer we can keep him here for now, the better.

"He is a massive specimen, really physical, and he's got a really varied skill-set. He adds a very different dimension to what we can do in the midfield.

"It's great to have him playing. Every game, he is growing in stature and bringing more and more of his kind of game to the party, which is ultimately what we want.

"We want more of Sam Burgess out there, and the sooner he learns the game, he is going to be flying along and carrying us forward."

England head coach Stuart Lancaster is due to name his senior squad and Saxons group next week and, as well as Burgess' likely involvement, there are growing calls for veteran number eight Nick Easter to be handed a recall.

Ben Morgan, who usurped Billy Vunipola as first choice number eight last autumn, is certain to miss the entire RBS 6 Nations with the broken leg suffered on Gloucester duty on Friday night.

While Vunipola fits Lancaster's preference for a powerful ball-carrier at the back of the scrum, the 22-year-old lost ground during the autumn after error-prone displays against New Zealand and South Africa saw him dropped from the squad.

One possible solution for the Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on February 6 is Easter, who used the occasion of his 250th appearance for Harlequins to produce a man-of-the-match display against Leicester that revived calls for his Test return.

The 36-year-old won the last of his 47 caps at the 2011 World Cup, but his club form has been rewarded with a new two-year contract and offered hope that Lancaster may turn his gaze to Twickenham Stoop to replace Morgan.

"It did seem to be the case that I wouldn't be around for the World Cup, but I like to prove people wrong. Is England a driver? One hundred per cent. You always have that carrot.," Easter said.

"I spoke to Stuart about age when he told me I wouldn't be in his first Six Nations squad. I said that at the last few World Cups you had (older) players like Brad Thorn, Os du Randt and Neil Back.

"At the time he said he wanted to blood some guys, to find out about them. I thought that was a good thing to do, bring these new guys through.

"I'll carry on enjoying my rugby and it is up to the selectors. Sometimes your face fits, sometimes it doesn't."


From Belfast Telegraph