| 2.2°C Belfast

Ford: Burgess still needs time


Sam Burgess in action for Bath against Montpellier

Sam Burgess in action for Bath against Montpellier

Sam Burgess in action for Bath against Montpellier

Bath boss Mike Ford believes it will be a couple of months before people start seeing "the real Sam Burgess".

Former rugby league star Burgess continued his union adaptation by making a full debut in Friday night's 32-12 European Champions Cup victory over Pool Four opponents Montpellier.

Burgess, whose first two appearances for Bath had been as a second-half substitute, played the entire game and was involved in build-up work for wing Matt Banahan's opening two tries as Bath kept themselves in quarter-final contention.

"It is a couple of months away before you start seeing the real Sam Burgess, but what he has done so far has been fantastic," head coach Ford said.

"We are ready for the criticism, what he can't do and how it is too early for him. We have got our heads screwed on, and we know what we are doing.

"The plan was to put him in the back-row for the last 20 minutes, and maybe if we had played better in the first-half we could have done that, but the game was too tight, so I kept him where he was.

"He will probably be on the bench against Gloucester next Saturday, and then there is an A team game after that and he will probably play the full 80 in that.

Rugby Round Up Newsletter

Exclusives and expert analysis from the sports team straight to your inbox

This field is required

"He is on the right line, he is loving it and he is learning all the time. Let him learn the game, and we will do that by playing him."

Burgess was upstaged by Banahan, who claimed a hat-trick of tries, while England fly-half George Ford kicked two penalties and three conversions, with Horacio Agulla posting a crucial bonus point touchdown two minutes from time.

"I have still got plenty to work on," Burgess said. "There are a lot of different aspects of the game that I am enjoying learning and working out. I am pleased with my first start.

"I don't quite know what I did out there, it is a bit of a blur. You are in the game from the word go, whereas previously I have been coming on when the games have been won.

"I didn't feel too bad positionally, it is more finding the right position in terms of getting on the ball, and at the breakdown I can be better at that. It is not quite instinct yet.

"I have been trying to ask as many questions as possible, and I have spent a lot of time with a lot of different people, players and coaches. Everyone is very willing with their time. I will keep working on the simple things, and the rest hopefully will naturally come.

"We are reviewing every training session, every game, every minute I play, and that is helping me learn the game a bit quicker.

"I feel like I am improving and getting more knowledge of the game, but certainly a long way off perfect yet."