Belfast Telegraph

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Burgess staying put for Exiles tie

Sam Burgess will continue his back-row education when Bath renew their push for home advantage in the Aviva Premiership play-offs by toppling London Irish at the Recreation Ground.

Burgess, who began his union career at inside centre, is to make his second start at blindside flanker on Friday night after filling the position in the 29-19 victory over Newcastle two weeks ago.

Bath assistant coach Toby Booth insists the back row is where the former rugby league superstar's club future lies, even if England are adamant his skills are better suited to the number 12 jersey.

"We've made no secret of the plan for Sam. He would be involved in the game 50 or 60 times a match in rugby league. Compare that to a rugby union centre and that would be about a third," Booth said.

"Sam wants to be in the game and be influential in games. He really enjoyed that element of being in the back row against Newcastle."

Captain Stuart Hooper and centre Kyle Eastmond return from injury as Bath seek to supplant Saracens in second place with the clubs level on 61 points.

Irish are hoping to build on their 25-23 victory over Sale a fortnight ago knowing victory could see them climb above Gloucester in the table.

"The team performed well and showed great spirit against Sale and deserve another run-out," Exiles head coach Glenn Delaney said.

"Bath are in outstanding form and have threats all over the park so we will have to be at our very best to have a chance at getting a result."


From Belfast Telegraph