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Sam Burgess v Jamie Roberts head-to-head

Sam Burgess is expected to start England's critical World Cup group clash with Wales at Twickenham, placing him on a collision course with Jamie Roberts in a battle between two giant inside centres. Here Press Association analyses the rivals' strengths and weaknesses.


Club: Bath

Position: Inside centre, outside centre, blindside flanker.

Age: 26

Height: 6ft 5ins

Weight: 17st 11lbs

Caps: 3

Test starts: 1

Debut: v France, August 2015

Tries: 0

International honours: None.

Strengths: Enormous power and perfect timing in the tackle, effective ball carrier, ability to off-load in the tackle, acts as a decoy runner by drawing in defenders through his physical presence, leadership, courage, self-belief.

Weaknesses: Inexperienced in union having played only 112 minutes of Test rugby and still learning the complexities of the game, doubts over his best position - Bath view him as a blindside flanker, strays out of position in defence, no kicking game.


Club: Harlequins.

Position: Inside centre.

Age: 28

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 17 stones 6 lbs

Caps: 73 (including three for the British and Irish Lions).

Test starts: 70 (including three for the Lions).

Debut: v Scotland 2008

Tries: 10 (including one for the Lions).

International honours: 2008, 2012 Grand Slams, 2013 RBS 6 Nations title, player of the series on 2009 Lions tour to South Africa, part of triumphant 2013 Lions tour to Australia.

Strengths: Vastly experienced centre and lynchpin of Warren Gatland's 'Warrenball' game plan, battering ram of a ball carrier, Wales' defensive captain, consistency of performance, presence, courage, leadership.

Weaknesses: Limited kicking game, very strong in his role but has failed to develop into a more complete player along the line of the All Blacks' Ma'a Nonu, prone to injury due to seeking out contact, though his recent record has been better.


From Belfast Telegraph