Belfast Telegraph

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Burgess impresses in new role

Bath coach Mike Ford hinted Sam Burgess' future could lay in the back row after the former rugby league man made his first start at number six in the 29-19 bonus-point victory at Newcastle.

The signing from South Sydney has played the bulk of his union career in the centre but was switched to flanker on Friday night and played for 60 minutes as Bath moved up to second in the Aviva Premiership.

"We're pleased with the way Sam played in the back row," said Ford.

"He's not the finished article by any means but he will get better and we'll probably look to keep playing him in the back row."

Ford was also pleased with the way his team picked themselves up after their European Champions Cup exit at the hand of Leinster last weekend.

"It was a very good night in terms of the outcome and the five points and getting back to second place," he said.

"It was a very emotional Saturday. The boys were very drained and disappointed to come out on the wrong end of the European result.

"We came back in this week and trained hard for this game and we wanted to play fast, the boys showed a real cutting edge tonight."

He added: "We cut them open at times.

"Anthony Watson was superb as was George (Ford) and (Semesa) Rokoduguni was outstanding."

Fifteen points were rattled up in the first 16 minutes of the match as Bath, for whom England's Ford delivered a fly-half masterclass, collected a pair of tries through Ollie Devoto and Rokoduguni.

Newcastle responded with a Sinoti Sinoti try but Watson's score on the stroke of half-time earned Bath a 19-13 lead at the interval, and then Matt Banahan went over in the 42nd minute to give the visitors their bonus point.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards admitted his side were not really in the match for long periods, and said: "I thought they won in a bit of a canter and I'm a bit disappointed to be honest.

"We started slowly as we have done for most of the season and just before half time we gave away a soft try and that was a killer moment.

"Our try-scoring seems to have dried up and the softness of the tries we conceded is what is really concerning me. We have a tendency to switch off and we have to address that."


From Belfast Telegraph