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Burgess not thinking of England


Sam Burgess, centre, has admitted he must park his England plans while he gets to grips with rugby union at Bath

Sam Burgess, centre, has admitted he must park his England plans while he gets to grips with rugby union at Bath

Sam Burgess, centre, has admitted he must park his England plans while he gets to grips with rugby union at Bath

Sam Burgess has insisted he must scrap all thoughts of his England ambitions and focus on honing his rugby union skills at Bath.

The rugby league convert admitted he has learned more in the last three weeks than at any time of his cross-code switch.

Burgess made his England bow in the second-string Saxons' 18-9 victory over Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork in January, but is refusing to target his Test debut.

Bath have slipped out of the Aviva Premiership play-off places after losing their last three matches - leaving Burgess refusing to countenance any talk of making the autumn's World Cup.

"I'll leave those guys outside things to talk about it all," Burgess told Press Association Sport on his England chances.

"I guess that's the job, so I'll leave it to others to talk about that.

"For me it's probably important not to comment on it, and just get on with my work at Bath, which I'm doing, and having fun doing it as well.

"I would just rather continue enjoying my time at Bath and see how things turn out.

"I've just got to get on with the job at Bath, knuckle down and work hard.

"I've learned more in the last three weeks than at any point, you could say that yeah.

"But I would love to have been winning in that spell too!

"It would be great to be learning quickly and winning at the same time, but that's just sport."

Burgess has been battling for form and to learn the union ropes ever since making the summer switch from South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The 26-year-old former England rugby league star had already been heralded as a potential addition to Stuart Lancaster's World Cup squad even before he had graced Bath's colours this term.

The Dewsbury-born battering ram has not adjusted as quickly as expected, with Bath head coach Mike Ford claiming Burgess has been "frustrated" by his staccato progress.

Rumours have even flown around about a potential return to league, but Burgess himself insists he is relishing his challenge at The Recreation Ground.

Burgess believes any niggles with his continuing conversion are simply part and parcel of adapting to his new sport.

"I probably think what Mike (Ford) said was misinterpreted a bit," said Burgess.

"Mike said frustrated, but as a sportsman you're surely going to be frustrated, especially when you're losing games.

"I'm certainly enjoying my time there.

"Although we've lost the last few weeks have been great for me in terms of my learning curve.

"I'm really happy at Bath, it's been good fun so far, and hopefully that will continue until the back-end of the year."

Burgess enjoyed superstar status in Australia after guiding the Rabbitohs to NRL Grand Final glory last year.

He remains in close contact with South Sydney owner Russell Crowe - and hinted the Hollywood movie star could have been "having some fun" toying with the idea of buying football club Leeds on social media.

Crowe mused on a potential bid for the Championship club when in England to watch South Sydney see off St Helens 39-0 in the World Club Challenge last month.

"Russell's a character and he would have been having some fun, poking some fun online and it's blown up," said Burgess, who posed as a live mannequin in London on behalf of Canterbury.

"I think he's a Leeds fan because I am, otherwise I don't think he knows too much about the game.

"I don't know if he'll end up buying the club like everyone's suggesting, but if he did then hopefully I'd have a job in there somewhere.

"He's a character, I'm sure he would find a lot of things funny on social media.

"I think that was a bit of fun, and he would have had a laugh to himself about it seeing what effect came after it.

"Russell is almost like an older brother and father figure in some ways.

"He gives me advice about everything, we're still in regular touch and we speak three or four times a week.

"I do value his opinion: he's a smart guy with a great outlook on a lot of things.

"It's great to have people like that to take advice from through your career."

:: Sam Burgess was in London to launch the Canterbury Since 1904 Collection, by posing as a live mannequin at House of Fraser Victoria.